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The 11-year-old boy who accidentally killed his friend, Ruben Rocky Reid, after firing off a 12-gauge shotgun on Thursday has been forgiven by the child’s parents who stressed that adults with guns should keep them far from children.
Speaking at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday, Dawn Reid and Phillip Thomas both stressed that they forgave the child. Thomas, however, had a strong message for the owner of the gun.
“I hope all the youths could take example about how serious having a weapon like a gun is and what tragedy it could have. And I hope the bigger fools could stop giving children guns to play with and to use and things like that. I wish these little big people could stop doing that,” Thomas said.
He added, “I forgive him already. I saw him yesterday (Thursday) and he look scared. It very hard because it feels unfair. It’s not even like an accident or a house burn down. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened. But I leave it in the Lord’s hands.”
Reid said she felt heartbroken but could not hold any animosity towards the child who killed her son. She added that Ruben was the last of her three children who was supposed to have gone to Port-of-Spain with her to purchase a new pair of school sneakers but she changed her mind after a family emergency came up.
“It heartbreaking, it real heartbreaking to see him that way today. His father had to hold me up, I nearly fall down because I start to bawl after I see my son on the table. All yesterday I was bawling. I couldn’t sleep all night. My second son was in a mess. The older one Ryan was vex. I had to tell him it happened and it have nothing we can do to change it. It not supposed to happen but it did. So we have to accept it. It have no words to describe how I feeling,” Reid said.
She added that her son, whom she described as her heart, wanted to be a welder. She said her son was focusing on writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam next year.
“I forgive [the 11-year-old] you know, he small. He and Ruben is the same age. It had no ill intent there. I don’t know him so well, I know his older brother. I don’t hate him, I leave everything to God. God will take care of him and he in a better place. It not supposed to happen so but it happen. I have to accept it,” Reid said.
According to police, Ruben died almost immediately after running in front of the gun. Police said the Standard Five pupil of Diego Martin Primary School went with a 13-year-old friend to the forested area where the 13-year-old’s brothers—11 and six—were tending to their father’s crops of corn, peas and plantain. Police said around 11.30 am the 13-year-old loaded the shotgun. Moments later his 11-year-old brother fired once, hitting Ruben in the face. He died from a single gunshot wound to the face.
Children’s authority troubled by killing
Public education and communications manager of the Children’s Authority Cheryl Moses-Williams, in a media release yesterday, said the authority was horrified by the killing. Moses-Williams said the authority’s Emergency Response Team has been in contact with the police and its staff is on standby to provide support to the children who were involved in the incident. Two children ages 13 and 11 are in police custody, while police are seeking their father’s assistance in relation to the shooting.
Moses-Williams added that the authority was appealing to parents and guardians to supervise their children and be extremely vigilant in ensuring the safety of their children, especially during the school holidays.