Family of Jamaican killed in NY pleads for killers to surrender
The family of a Jamaican man killed in Bronx, New York, last Friday after being accused of standing too close to a woman is appealing to the killer and female accomplice to turn themselves in to the police.
Stephaun ‘Bigsie’ Stewart, 24, was shot dead after he left the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Williamsbridge, Bronx, where the female suspect was also a customer.
The New York Police Department said Stewart was found a few blocks away at 1:30 p.m. with a gunshot wound to his mid-section.
Stewart reportedly travelled to the US last December, to get away from the turbulent community of Tavares Gardens in the tough inner-city community of Payne Land.
Sophia Hendricks, a family friend, said Stewart was born in Payne Land and lived there all his life.
“A me grow him, the only thing me never do for him a give him titty. Stephaun was a good youth, honestly a bare joke him give, him jovial. Him nuh give trouble,” Hendricks said Wednesday.
His mother, Vivene, who was at home when The Gleaner visited, was too distraught to speak; however, she gave approval for relatives and other siblings to speak.
Stewart, a past student of Denham Town High, according to his relatives had grown accustomed to the sounds of gunfire, but was never a fan of it.
“Any time him hear shot him hold him head and want to defecate,” Hendricks said.
They have been steadily following the reports in the US media and said with the incident captured on surveillance, they are optimistic justice will be served.
NO BURIAL PLANS YET
There are no immediate plans for funeral, however, according to Hendricks, the decision to ship him home or for a US burial rests with his mother.
“What she is saying is that she nuh want see her son come down ina nuh box. A never that was the plan fi him come down ina no box,” Hendricks said.
The family got a phone call Friday that would turn their world upside down.
“When I heard I faint and when I recovered, I couldn’t stop crying,” his teenage sister said, adding that she hasn’t been to school since the tragedy.
The family rubbishes the notion that he was killed for standing too close to a woman.
“The cashier said it was nothing like that,” Hendricks said.
“But the question is if him deh in front of her, wouldn’t she be the one standing too close? He left the place before her. The video footage clearly shows that,” a resident said.
Further reports are that the woman cut the line and an argument developed.
That footage of her leaving the restaurant was released by the NYPD on Sunday.
The police also said there was no physical altercation between Stewart and his attacker who approached, pulled a firearm and shot him.
That man, reports suggest, was called to the area by the woman.
One resident said Stewart expressed he wanted to turn over his life to God.
“Oh, God, him say when him go deh (US) him want go church. Him want tek care of him mother and him sisters. Him want tek them out the environment,” the resident said.
Stewart did not have children of his own but he assumed the role of father for his two sisters, whose father died last year.
“Dem (siblings) traumatise all now dem can’t go school,” a relative said.
The residents said they are waiting to hear that those responsible turn themselves in and to understand that they robbed a poor family of a breadwinner.
“You can count on him to do anything. Any party him ready fi cook. Him love to cook. Yuh see to how him love him granny, him wash all him granny panty,” a resident said.
They told The Gleaner the entire community is saddened and they turned out in droves for his ‘three day’ on Monday and expect an even bigger showing for his ‘nine day’ coming up.
“Right now the state weh him mother in, we want justice. If tears could bring him back, he would have come back from the same day him dead. We just want him bring in himself, just look into yuhself,” was Hendricks’ message to the accused.