First of three killed by police laid to rest

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Mourners outside Simpson’s Funeral Home, Eastern Main Road, Laventille during the funeral for Isaiah Roberts who was killed by police on Independence Square, Port of Spain last. Saturday. Photo by Sureash Cholai

THE mother of Isaiah Roberts, one of three killed by police last Saturday, remembered him as a “kind soul” during his funeral on Friday.

Roberts’ mother Akilah John, who is not in the country, penned to her son a letter which she had read by Kaffie Pierre at Simpson’s Funeral Chapel, Eastern Main Road Laventille.

In the letter she said, “My heart feels shattered. My pain is unbearable knowing I won’t see your beautiful, handsome face again. I miss you so much already, words can’t explain. Your smile, your laugh, your smell, even when you smelling bad. I’m sad for the people who won’t get to know your kind soul, your creativity, your mischief and, most of all, that amazing sense of humour.”

She wrote that Roberts will always be a part of her as her “unique, precious sensitive boy” and is saddened that not many will know how sweet a child Roberts, her only child, was.

“I was lucky to have you as my son. You are my little world no matter how old you were getting. I can’t say it enough how proud I was of you, my little black gold. The greatest job I ever had was the job of raising you.”

During his homily, Pastor Wayne Baptiste, reading from Psalm 90, told the congregation time is fragile. He prayed that God would teach the family and others to number their days and recognise how few they are and how to spend them.

Roberts’ aunt Samantha John gave the eulogy and recalled Roberts to be the life of the family. She said her nephew was studying auto mechanics at Servol. Some of his classmates attended the funeral along with one of his teachers.

“He was an amazing driver who could drive better than his mother. He was an amazing, caring, loving young man who was the life of the household, who made us laugh,” John said.

She added that her nephew was the type to wash, cook and clean and would put his mother to bed at 7 pm by taking off her bedroom light and telling her he loved her before going to lime next door with one of his friends.

One of those friends, a 15-year-old boy, was one of three survivors of the police-involved killing, who was shot in the arm and grazed on the abdomen during the alleged shootout with police. He and two others were released from police custody pending further investigations.

Roberts, 17, along with Fabien Richards, 21 and Leonardo Williams, 17, were killed after they, police said, opened fire on police officers after crashing into Republic Bank, Independence Square.

Their autopsies said all three were shot from behind. Police said they recovered a Smith and Wesson pistol at the scene.

Outside the funeral home, survivors and other mourners wept for the teen – the first of the three to be buried. Richards will be buried on Monday and Williams on Tuesday.

While members of the Inter-Agency Task Force provided transport and escort for the relatives from the funeral chapel to the burial at the San Juan public cemetery, some mourners were overheard questioning why they were there. The officers were in their urban camouflage wear, which is similar to that worn by the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB).

Four GEB officers involved in the incident are on desk duty as the investigation continues.

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