Twenty years on and the pain of losing her only son Shaundae Jones, to gun violence has not eased any.
In fact, the pain is that much harder, knowing that the person responsible for his death may still be walking among us. Still, Marsha Jones says she tries to cope as best she can, particularly on days like his birthday and today, the anniversary of his death.
It was in the early morning hours of April 27th, 2003, when Shaundae’s life was ended by a gun toting criminal in an act of senseless violence as he sat on friend’s car outside the now defunct Club Malabar at the Royal Naval Dockyard.
There were several patrons in the carpark of the nightclub when Shaundae was shot at close range by his assailant, but if anyone witnessed the incident, they have so far not come forward to say.
Ms. Jones believes the smallness of this community has made it hard for her and others who have lost loved ones to get justice and closure, as people are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.
Speaking with TNN, Marsha questioned, “What do the perpetrators feel? We continue to lose our young black men at an alarming rate. Is it that they are proud of what they have done?”
She says there is now a most un-Bermudian culture that exists among the island’s young black males in which there is simply no regard for life with phrase “see you on the other side” now all too common. It’s a phrase she says, that rings hollow.
Ms. Jones says she often wonders how those with information about Shaundae’s murder feel today. Many of them would now be in the forties and perhaps have already started families of their own she asks, “How would they feel if they were faced with a similar situation. How would they feel if their loved one was taken away from them like that and no one is saying anything despite knowing who is responsible or at the very least have information that might help bring those responsible to justice.”
To date no one has been charged with Shaundae’s murder. Checks with the police confirmed the matter remains under investigation but Marsha does not have confidence it will be solved by local investigators. “When the British Cold Case Officers were here, they kept me regularly updated on what was happening with the investigation, but since they’ve left, there has been very little if anything shared with me”, she claimed.
The lack of closure Marsha says, weighs heavy on her. At times it can seem too much to bear. That she told us, is when she would go into Shaundae’s room and seek solace in prayer. And that has been a great source of comfort to her surrounded by pictures that remind her of happier times, but also what could have been.
“What these people don’t understand is that when they take a young man’s life, they also take the lives of their loved ones left to mourn their loss. My life has not been the same and Shaundae’s death has negatively impacted everyone related to him.”
She has undergone several years on counselling in her efforts to cope with her loss. Counselling that has taught her to take comfort in knowing that Shaundae never had to live without her. Still, it has also given her the strength to be of support to others who have lost a friend or relative to senseless violence. Counselling and her faith in God. But the pain remains and remains real.
Marsha often questions the phrase “black lives matter”. To whom do they matter she asks, since it is young black men who are killing each other and if that phrase meant anything, they would be coming together to put an end to this sickness instead of allowing it to fester.
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