Gretel Johnson, better known as Queenie, left the United States recently to bury her brother who died in Jamaica, not knowing that she would end up also having to plan a funeral for her only child.
Her 34-year-old son, Elvis Blake, otherwise called Ray, was shot in the head Monday night (October 25) while in his York Street community in Linstead, St. Catherine.
He was killed near his home in the vicinity of his friend’s residence, where a robbery was taking place about 8PM.
In relation to the robbery, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said a group of people was at home on York Street when two of them – both males – went to check on a vehicle in their yard. That’s when they were surprised by a gunman, the JCF added.
The gunman shot and wounded one of the men at the house. He is said to be in hospital.
The gunman also shot Blake, who, at the time, was in a motorcar heading out of his community.
His mother, Johnson, told The Beacon: “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time… He was hard-working and he always care for his children no matter what… He was a man of his word who didn’t stand for foolishness. Him wi jus tell yuh the truth and move on and then good with you later.”
Blake, who worked as a welder at the West Indies Alumina Company in Ewarton, died leaving four children, including two boys who are one and two years old respectively.
His mother, a Jehovah’s witness, is banking on her faith in God to take her through two funerals, including that of her brother who died of cancer.
“I have to be strong because I come [to Jamaica] to help out with my brother’s funeral. After his funeral is done on Friday, then I can focus on that for my son,” she said.
The mother further stated that, although she has lost her only child to gun violence on the island, she is not giving up on the land of her birth.
“Crime and violence is all over the world; Jamaica is my home,” she noted, adding that God is the solution.
In the meantime, Blake’s girlfriend, Genever Thomas, spoke highly of him.
“It rough to see how him dead; it just rough,” she added, no doubt pondering how to raise her two boys without their father.
The shooting at York Street happened a day after gunmen shot two people at Banbury in Linstead, killing one of them. The deceased in the Banbury incident is Natalie Kelly-Baker, 40.
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