Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Cops seek help to solve teen’s murder

Published:Friday | July 26, 2019 | 12:47 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Rushane Smith was photographed pushing this handcart with these children and crates of bottles along Duke Street in Kingston on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, 2017.
Rushane Smith was photographed pushing this handcart with these children and crates of bottles along Duke Street in Kingston on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

Two years after the execution-style murder of a Kingston schoolboy, Rushane Smith, the police are seeking the public’s help in bringing his killer(s) to justice.

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, the body of the 13-year-old Denham Town High School student was found in the middle of Eve Avenue in the West Heroes Circle area about 4:30 in the morning. Rushane’s hands were tied behind his back and his shirt was pulled over his head. He had been shot several times in the head.

The last time Rushane was seen alive was the Wednesday morning before.

“He would be 14 (years old) today, Rushane’s form teacher, Donnette Smith, told a Gleaner team which visited Denham Town High School on January 30, 2017.

A fresh bouquet of red bougainvilleas rested on the desk at the back of Grade 8N, where Rushane usually sat in class. It provided a glimmer of brightness on a sombre morning of reflection on the life of the youngster who, from all indications, met a harrowing death.

During his short time at the North Street-based high school, Rushane developed a special relationship with his form teacher.

The troubled teen was affectionately known as ‘Sleepy’, and Smith shared her role in how he got this pet name.

“He is always sleeping. I met with his form teacher in seventh grade and from he comes in, he hits the desk, and I was the person who said, ‘OK, Sleepy’, and that’s how the name stuck to him in seventh grade.

“I was like one of his mothers. He comes to school and if there is any difficulty, I am the first one. Whether I am inside in the class or not, he would always be looking for me to find me to tell me something or the other. If he wanted something to eat, or a book or a pencil, something, I was always there,” she said at the time.

Smith, therefore, took the news of Rushane’s death particularly hard.

“I have close contact with the mother, and when he is out of school, because I pass her on the road, I am always asking, ‘What happened to Rushane? Why is he not in school?’ And she would say, ‘OK, Miss. He is coming tomorrow!’ she added.

Ironically, in a photograph accompanying the article headlined ‘Save our children!’, published in The Sunday Gleaner of January 8, 2017, a barefooted Rushane is seen steering a handcart along Duke Street, with two younger children aboard and four others running alongside.

He would be killed before the month was through.

The police would like to talk to one of Rushane’s friends, who goes by the name ‘Satan’, whom it is believed was with him the day he died.

Crime Stop is offering $200,000 for the arrest and charge of the person(s) responsible for his murder.

If you know anything about this murder, please call 311 free from anywhere in Jamaica. Your information will be kept strictly confidential and you don’t have to give your name.