In memory of Kles

THE last thing Danielle Lord-Smith expected was that an injured man she saw on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston about 1:00 am on November 26 last year was her friend Kleston Masters.

But a call she received from her church colleague about 4:00 am that day confirmed the sad news.

Lord-Smith told the Jamaica Observer that they were heading home from the final night of crusade at Celebration Church in Portmore, St Catherine, when Masters was shot by one of four motorcyclists who had a gun.

Masters was rushed to hospital shortly after the incident but later succumbed to his injury on December 2, 2022. During the week he was in hospital, he managed to share the terrible ordeal with his family and friends.

“We were driving home from the crusade at church. I was driving with my church aunty in a car, while Kleston was on his bike, and he eventually went ahead of us. He actually told us that bike men started trailing him from Marcus Garvey Drive. He said that he saw [four] of them around him, but didn’t think they would have done anything,” she said.

She said Masters told her that two of the motorcyclists eventually drove ahead, seemingly waiting on him.

Lord-Smith explained that Masters was approaching the stoplight on South Camp Road, when he saw one of the bike men holding up an instrument he believed to be a gun.

“He said he didn’t see the gun clearly, but he said he knew that it was a gun he held up, and he said to himself, ‘Why would they want to shoot me, because mi don’t do them nothing?’ He got the shot and he fell off the bike on the road, and his body became paralysed,” she said.

“He said he heard the cars passing, and he was crying for help. He said he had on the helmet, so even when he call he doubted that anybody would hear him,” she added.

Lord-Smith said she eventually passed the young man on the street, not knowing it was Masters and was determined to help. But she was advised by her church colleague to call the police as they feared for their safety.

She said Masters was assisted by an off-duty cop driving by the area, who turned out to be his friend.

“When I saw the person on the road, I was worried about them because as any human being with emotions, if you see somebody injured you still want to help them. I was telling my pastor and mom about it, and I just didn’t think it would be him,” she said.

“Usually we tell each other when we reach home and about 2:00 am I texted him ‘Home?’ and I didn’t get a response, so I thought he didn’t get home yet. When I got the call, I was so shocked my brain couldn’t process what was happening, and then afterwards I was just bawling because I just couldn’t believe that it was actually him,” she said.

According to Lord-Smith, during Masters’ stay in the hospital, he was in high spirits, as he received visits from his friends and family members who would constantly pray for his recovery.

But his loved ones were brought to mourning after Masters unexpectedly passed away. His funeral service was held on January 22, two days before his 28th birthday.

“We didn’t think he would die. He was talking strongly, you literally wouldn’t know he was in the hospital if you heard his voice. He was able to talk to us regularly and was laughing and making jokes. We were just praying he would have feelings in his legs because he could feel his upper body but he couldn’t feel his legs,” said Lord-Smith.

“Even though he died, I’m glad his family would come and speak to him. Even right before he died he was telling his sister that he loved her. For everybody it feels so unreal. It’s as if him is in a foreign country or just gone somewhere because it just doesn’t seem real at all,” she added.

Lord-Smith described Masters as a kind-hearted and helpful person who enjoyed telling jokes.

“He was the one who taught me to do graphic design. He did photography and graphics, and if you feel sad, he’d encourage you with his scriptures. It’s always good vibes with him,” she said.

In Masters’ honour, the Celebration Church named its annex after him.

Noting that the police are still investigating the issue, Lord-Smith said it is a challenge seeking justice in the country.

“The family was told that it is being investigated, but sometimes it feels as if they don’t take it as serious as they ought to, and you wonder if it’s worth pushing to get justice. It is so hard to get justice in Jamaica, the justice system needs to be fixed up and things need to be done speedily,” she said.

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