Corporal Doran McKenzie, the soldier who committed a murder suicide in Portmore on January 12, was buried yesterday at his hometown of Ewarton, St. Catherine, amid an appeal for people to reflect on their own lives instead of pass judgment.
The mourners, who number about 100, included McKenzie’s wife, his mother, sisters and other close relatives.
The soldier’s second child, attired in a white dress, managed to maintain her composure. She’s nine years old.
The two children were born outside the relationship their father had with nurse Suzanne Easy, who reportedly was chopped and shot before the soldier turned the gun on himself.
McKenzie was not accorded a military funeral. However, a few members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) showed up at the funeral – all decked out in plain clothes.
Those interviewed by The Beacon spoke glowingly of their late colleague, adding that he showed no clear sign of distress up to a few hours before things went awry.
Some of the military men also helped to carry the casket, which, like the funeral programme, was in army-looking colours.
The JDF was slated to deliver the remembrance, but no one came forward when that item was mentioned during the funeral service.
JDF Chaplain, Major Reverend Denston Smalling, while officiating, lamented the loss.
“Corporal McKenzie was a treasured member of the Jamaica Defence Force family, and somehow in the heightened operations we missed the signs that there were things that were not so right with him,” he said.
“We really mourn his loss – the loss of a member of our team, and we really hope that his soul may find rest in God’s presence,” Reverend Smalling further said inside the packed Ewarton Gospel Lighthouse.
The late soldier actually attended basic school at the same Lighthouse where the funeral service took place.
He subsequently enrolled at Orangefield Primary School, where he passed his Common Entrance Examination and was placed at McGrath High School in Linstead, St. Catherine.
McKenzie later studied welding at Lluidas Vale HEART Training Institute.
He worked for three years as a maintenance personnel at the West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO) Sports Club.
McKenzie apparently could not escape his childhood dream to serve in one of the island’s two security forces.
He applied to both of them, and eventually was recruited by the JDF.
He served the army with distinction for 12 years, said family friend Hermeal Ricketts who delivered the eulogy.
The soldier was born in July 1984 at Tivoli Gardens Medical Centre in Kingston.
He was two years old when he, along with his mother and sisters, migrated from Kingston to Ewarton where he had what is said to be a humble and adventurous childhood.
The soldier was described as kind-hearted and jovial – adjectives not reflective of his last moments alive.
Dr. Dean Reid, who delivered the sermon, told people in earshot not to be judgmental.
“Let us not judge, but, as we reflect, let us reflect on our own lives,” he said.
“I am not here because I wanna judge nobody; I am here because I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I am here to tell you talk to Him; I am here to tell you surrender your life to Him.”
Dr. Reid also urged the nation to pray for its people serving in the security forces and in other ‘stressful’ jobs.
“You see these men that we have protecting our nation, their jobs are not easy,” the clergyman further noted.
McKenzie, 35, was interred at the public cemetery in Ewarton.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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