A mother's grief
Sharon Smith was on one of her usually short visits to Jamaica in December 2011 when she was bombarded with disturbing complaints about her then teenage son.
Residents in the volatile Taylor Land, Bull Bay, St Andrew, community where the family lives reported Smith's her second child, Kevone Gordon, was "misbehaving" and had begun to stay out in the streets, but it was the complaints by his teachers at Vauxhall High School that stung the most.
"The teachers and everybody were like, 'Kevone is a good-behaving boy ... but these last days I don't know what happen, because Kevone not behaving the way him used to behave'. Him English teacher tell me him not in class for three months ... she no see him present for three months," Smith said of a January 2012 meeting she attended at the school.
That was when the mother of two, who was working in the Cayman Islands to give her children a better life, took the decision to give up her job and devote her energies on setting her son straight.
"Me say, 'No, me really can't go weh back'. So me tell me self seh me ago stay and try fi balance him," Smith told The Gleaner yesterday.
Five years later, her sacrifice had begun to pay off. Gordon used a second chance provided by the administrators at Dunoon Park Technical High School to earn eight subjects at the CSEC and CAPE level before landing a job as an administrative clerk at Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).
Killed by unknown assailants
But last Saturday, tragedy struck. The 20-year-old's body was found with gunshot wounds inside his car in downtown Kingston. Residents in Taylor Land said he was found slumped over the steering wheel.
However, the Elletson Road police report that Gordon was killed by unknown assailants before residents reported seeing his Nissan motor car overturned on an embankment along Victoria Avenue in downtown. The police say on their arrival, his body was seen inside the vehicle with gunshot wounds.
"Me baby gone! Me baby gone!" Smith wailed when The Gleaner visited the family yesterday.
An employee at JNBS's Duke Street branch revealed that staffers there were undergoing grief counselling and could not speak.
Just under 800 persons have been reported killed in Jamaica since the start of the year. Police statistics show that up to yesterday, 790 murders have been recorded across the country's 19 police divisions.
Gordon's relatives and girlfriend revealed that he left home on Saturday evening to meet up with a man who owed him money for two cell phones.
The girlfriend, who was questioned by the police for several hours, said shortly after 11 o'clock that night, she got a call from Gordon.
"He was crying and asking weh me deh, and then the phone hung up," she recounted.
The young woman said she rang Gordon's cell phone several times, but the calls went unanswered.
Smith said she was satisfied with the sacrifice she made for her son and remains proud of his academic turnaround. "It wasn't an easy road, but I hung in there because he was a stubborn boy. Sometimes I had to be rough with him and tell him me a do this fi him own good," she recounted.