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'He was loved by everyone'

Published:Monday | March 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
The family of 51-year-old shopkeeper and farmer Vernon Hall (from left): brother Dennis Hall, sister Verda Porteous, niece Kameika Samuels, and sister Louise Williams.

Western Bureau:

It has been more than a month since shopkeeper and farmer Vernon Hall was brutally murdered by gunmen in the normally tranquil Mount Peace community in Hanover, but his distraught relatives are still struggling to understand what could have motivated the killers to snuff out his life.

"He was loved by everyone. He was a hard-working person ... . There are so many questions and no answers," said Hall's sister, Louise Williams, as she painfully reflected on her 51-year-old brother on the night of January 7, 2017.

"Sometimes we hear these things over the radio and TV, but we feel it now. We have just realised now what those people are going through and what they are feeling, and it is rough," said Williams.

Hall and another man, furniture maker Patrick Robinson, who also hailed from Mount Peace, were shot and killed by unknown assailants outside a shop operated by Hall, shortly after 9:30 on the fateful night.


Still in shock


Sitting on the family veranda, which is just a few minutes' walk up the road from where Hall took his last breath, his relatives recounted their thoughts on the senseless killing

"We were here, we were at home, and then we heard the gunshots," said Kameika Samuels, Hall's niece. "Then someone called and gave us the news ... . We are still in shock and disbelief. The whole thing about it is the fact that we do not know who did it and where it is coming from."

The family remembers Hall as a family-oriented man, who always ensured that his younger relatives got small treats whenever they passed by his shop. He was extremely generous to relatives and community members alike.

... She wants her brother's killers to repent

"He was a wonderful brother, especially to his niece and nephew. Christmas just gone, he gave them a little something, not great, but it was love," recalled Williams.

"If they went to the shop, he had to give them something, even if it was a little mint ball. If he had a piece of yam, it had to split between us ... and for the little boys down there (in the community), if he cooked and they were around, he would give to them."

Despite the hurt caused by Hall's untimely passing, his relatives say they do not desire revenge against his killers, but they simply want to know why it happened.

"Even though they did that, we would not want the same thing to happen to them. It is just that we want to know why. That is the question I would ask - why?" said Samuels.

For Williams, she wants killers to "repent, and ask God to forgive them for what they did. We cannot judge; we have to leave that to God."