Trauma hits family of slain cook shop operator, PNP supporter

MONTEGO BAY, St James — December will no longer represent a month of celebration as it once did for the family of 78-year-old Lesmore Williams.

Williams, who was the operator of a cook shop and manager of a car park in downtown Montego Bay, was shot in the head by a gunman in broad daylight on December 29. He was later pronounced dead at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).

According to the deceased man’s son Winston, the shooting death of his father has traumatised the family, especially his older sister who was celebrating her birthday. He told the Jamaica Observer that their father, whom he described as a God-fearing man and a proud supporter of the People’s National Party (PNP), did not deserve to die in that manner.

“This has been more than rough. It happened on his eldest daughter’s birthday so that is going to be a lifetime reminder — and no one in the family was looking for or expecting it. We had expected him to die of old age, not to be taken out like that,” Winston told the Sunday Observer.

“Everyone’s been trying to cope but you know, some days we cry about it. We all feel like we have a hole in our hearts because everyone’s broken by this,” he added.

Further explaining that they, too, celebrated their birthdays in December, Winston fondly reminisced on the last moments he shared with his father. He said that he flew to Jamaica for his father’s 78th birthday on December 11. His father’s excitement, having realised that he had made the trip, has been constantly replaying in his mind, Winston told the Sunday Observer.

“I found out from him where he would be for his birthday, which was church, and I told him that’s the best place to be. So when I went down I just went straight to the church and I sat in the row behind him, then I touched him on his shoulder. When he looked around and he saw that it was me, he took a second look to make sure that he wasn’t dreaming and then he was like, ‘Wait, what are you doing here?’ Then he was like, ‘Wow, you tricked me!’ and he hugged me, so I had to slump forward,” Winston said.

He continued, “He held me in that position for about two hours, and as uncomfortable as it was I just said that I am not even moving because I could see that he was happy, and that’s all that mattered.

“I spent some time with him and when I was leaving, he hugged me just the same. When his arm came around me it was like he didn’t even want to let go — and I had no idea that would have been the last time I’d be hugging him,” he added, his voice filled with grief.

Noting that the elderly man shared loving relationships with his three children, Winston said that their family had developed routines to catch up with each other on the weekends, as both he and his older sister have been living overseas. This was something his father looked forward to as they got the chance to spend quality time while being physically away, Winston told the Sunday Observer.

“It got to the point where he dedicated Saturdays to calling my sister and Sundays to calling me. He really enjoyed our time on Sundays because we would talk about work, and we would also talk about the Bible and church. We also sang together and we would pray. He used to tell me that he really appreciated the fact that we could just sit down and just talk about God and the Bible,” said Winston.

The fond memories shared with his father, however, are now clouded by his gruesome December 29 murder. Winston said that nothing could have prepared him for the heart-breaking call he received from Jamaica.

“I was at home prepping for work and my little sister that’s in Jamaica called me to say she heard that pops got shot at the shop, but she hasn’t confirmed it yet. She said that she was calling someone and she was going down there to see,” said Winston.

Frightened by the news, Winston said he immediately made contact with an associate who was working in the car park. He said that that was when he learned that his father had succumbed to his injuries.

“I remember just falling to my knees bawling, and I believe for the first three days I couldn’t talk about him without breaking down,” he told the Sunday Observer.

As for his older sister whose father was tragically taken away on her birthday, Winston said “she is coping as best as she can”.

“We do have each other to lean on and that’s the most that there is. We are just trying to be there for each other and encourage and strengthen each other because, even now, she hasn’t opened one of her birthday presents,” he said.

Generated by Feedzy