More than three years after a group of heavily-armed men in police and Defence Force uniforms killed three men in their beds in their grandmother’s Wallerfield home, the mother of the young men killed says she’s no closer to seeing justice being served.
Without an update from the Police Service about the investigation, she is convinced that the case is being covered up.
On January 16, 2020, a group of men, who identified themselves as police, entered the house through a window and shot dead 16-year-old Jordan Archibald, 19-year-old Dimitri Cust and 24-year-old Nyron Samuel.
A fourth man, Marlon Cust, now 28 years old, was shot 18 times and was left paralysed.
His mother Lisa lost three of her biological sons and a nephew–who she adopted after her sister died from breast cancer.
“It’s very difficult for me. Every day I cry. Every day I cry. We have to feed him. We have to clean him. We have to brush his teeth. I can’t use a toothbrush because it’s got this bleed. His teeth got blown off by the bullets. He got 18 shots. 17 came out and one is still in him, close to his heart,” Lisa said while sobbing.
Marlon has trouble speaking coherently, but he managed a few words about the night of the shooting.
“The van of police come and they start to shoot…They start to shake up the door and they say - this is police…This is the police…I get plenty of bullets and one of the bullets can’t come out…When I heard about my brothers, I just start to cry,” he said, softly, with great difficulty.
According to Lisa, who didn’t want to provide her full name out of concerns for her safety, throughout the day before the shooting, police and defence force officers were patrolling and searching the area.
Her daughter, who lived with her brothers, said the group of armed officers came to the house with a piece of paper with some names on it, and said that they had information that the men they were looking for resided at the house.
Lisa’s mother, who owned the home, said she told the officers that no one by those names lived there.
“They insisted that the people they were looking for lived at that house. One of the officers had a phone and he took pictures of the house that very said evening and then they left. We thought they left but they didn’t leave because my cousin saw police swarming all down the highway, police and soldiers later that evening.
“Even neighbours saw police, we weren’t the only people that were interrogated that day, there were other neighbours that were also interrogated by the police. They were searching people from house to house,” Lisa recalled.
Then, in the early hours of the following day, Lisa got a call from her daughter. She could hear screams in the background.
It was clear something was wrong, but she simply couldn’t believe it when her daughter said her four brothers had been shot; three of them had already been pronounced dead.
“They were in full uniform and they had their guns across them and the guns strapped onto their legs. They had one mask, their ski mask, black, over their face. They take the blocks that we had in the yard that we were building, the foundation blocks and they put a height and they rack, rack the window. My mum said she heard the window but she didn’t really take it on.
“But when she heard it racking, racking, racking, she thought it was a bandit. And when they opened the window and broke it open, they jumped through the window and landed on her bed. They pointed the gun at her, she said, and the other officer who was behind us, two of them, told her the first one, do not shoot the old lady. And then they started to fire shots at my children who were sleeping,” Lisa said.
Eight days after her three sons were buried, she said the police and defence force officers returned to the house and ransacked it.
Last July, she said, a couple of officers visited her, saying they were there to get her financial assistance from the criminal injuries compensation board.
But since then, she’s heard nothing.
“One of the officers said that if it’s the police who had done it, they would be dealt with by the law,” she said.
While she’s losing hope, she still prays that one day she will get ‘justice’ for the death of her beloved sons.
When contacted for comment, Police Complaints Authority Director David West said the authority initiated an investigation into the matter and the investigation is ongoing.
He said the PCA is in the process of gathering scientific evidence and other evidence like station diary reports.
Attempts to reach Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Cristopher for comment were unsuccessful.
Yesterday, the Sunday Guardian told the story of the mother of Joel Apparicio. The unarmed 31-year-old was shot dead by a Special Reserve Police officer in San Juan in January 2014.
Despite confirmation from PCA Director David West that he submitted a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on January 6, 2015, for consideration of the evidence, no arrests or charges have been made in relation to Apparicio’s death.