ST JOHN’S, Antigua—
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Relative of murdered man: We were making plans for Father’s Day
Two cousins were shot dead yesterday stopping Fathers’ Day celebrations in Salybia. The double murder also threw several people living in the North Eastern coast into mourning.
Jahovan Roberts, 21, and his cousin Mark Roberts, 23, of Primus Street, Salybia, died in the vehicle in which they were travelling out of Matura.
They were shot several times about the body.
The vehicle, a white Teana driven by Mark, with his cousin in the front passenger seat, was found parked in the driveway of a villager at Matura around 5 am yesterday.
Police could not give a motive for the killings. They, however, said Mark was well known to them.
The incident pushed the murder toll to 237 for this year.
Mark’s body was found slumped over the steering wheel while Jahovan was found with his hands over his face.
Jahovan, a father of one, and Mark both attended a short pants party held at Joe Winter’s Bar, Matura. They reportedly left the party around 4.55 am and was making their way to Sangre Grande.
Police believe they were forced to drive the vehicle into a villager’s driveway in Matura where they were attacked by a gunman who opened fire on them.
One eyewitness reported that the assailant was also a passenger of the vehicle, sitting in the back seat. Both victims received gunshot wounds to the back of their neck and head.
Eyewitnesses also reported that a lone masked man walked away from the vehicle after the shooting and escaped in nearby bushes.
Police said around 5.15 am yesterday, they received an anonymous call about the shooting and that a strange white vehicle with headlights on, was parked in the driveway of a villager at Matura.
A police team responded and began investigations.
Jovahan was dressed in a black long sleeve jersey and blue and white short pants, while his cousin was in black short pants and a black jersey.
Police officers found several spent shells inside the vehicle and nearby.
Jahovan’s brother, Jason, told the T&T Guardian his brother was at their Salybia home sitting in the gallery talking and making plans for Father’s Day celebrations when a white vehicle pulled up in front of their house. He said Jahovan immediately got up and left in the vehicle. He said his brother did not tell him where he was going.
He added: “I did not know it was Mark who was driving until this morning. When we went to the scene we saw him in the front passenger seat of the white vehicle, dead. I could not believe what I saw. I remained in shock.”
Francis Roberts, a former police officer and uncle of Jahovan, told T&T Guardian that Jahovan’s both parents reside overseas. He added that Jahovan was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Francis added: “He was a good boy...Only a few days I spoke with Jahovan and he was very happy and in good spirits. I warned him to stay away from bad company and stay focused in making his life a success.”
Francis said when he received the news about the killing he could not believe that Jahovan was dead.
At the scene Francis had to be consoled by police officers.
A resident said he was drinking coffee around 5 am when he heard explosions. “I did not realise that two men were shot and killed, but found it strange when I saw a white vehicle with bright lights at a standstill near the driveway.”
The neighbour added: “I looked out again and still saw the lights on the vehicle but no movements.”
The man said he became curious.
“I heard police sirens blasting and police vehicles began to stop and park, with heavily armed officers alighting from the vehicles. Then I learn that there were two dead men in the vehicle,” he said.
Jahovan’s relatives described him as a law-abiding man.
The Roberts family said yesterday instead of Father’s Day celebrations, they now have to prepare for a wake.
District Medical Officer Dr Chandolu viewed the bodies and ordered their removal to mortuary at the Sangre Grande District Hospital.
The bodies will be taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James tomorrow for autopsies.
Cpl Jones of Homicide Arouca, Region 11 continues with investigations.