How does a wife tell her children that their father is dead?
How does a mother come to terms with the fact that her only son has been killed over a gold chain?
These are the questions plaguing relatives of 31-year-old Willdon “Jim” Shepherd, a bus driver with the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), who was gunned down on Wednesday night during a robbery in Patna Village, Diego Martin.
Police reported at about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Shepherd was with some friends at Waterwheel Auto Garage, along North Post Road, Patna Village, Diego Martin, when he was approached by a lone gunman.
Shepherd was seen exchanging words with the individual before the assailant pulled out a firearm. The 31-year-old father of four attempted to flee the scene, but the assailant opened fire, hitting Shepherd several times about the body.
Shepherd collapsed on the pavement in front of the auto garage and the assailant fled on foot.
The owner of the establishment made his way outside and upon seeing the PTSC driver bleeding on the ground, he placed Shepherd in a van parked outside and rushed him to St James Medical Complex.
Shepherd was pronounced dead on arrival.
A gold chain valued at $5,000, which Shepherd was wearing around his neck, was reported missing.
A party of officers from the Western Division and Homicide Bureau of Investigations, including ASP Patterson, Inspector Thomas, Sgt Robert, and PC Campbell, visited the scene, and recovered several spent shells in front of the auto garage.
A district medical officer then ordered the body’s removal to Forensic Science Centre in St James.
At the Centre yesterday Shepherd’s relatives and friends came out to support one another as they tried to come to terms with his death.
“You see this right here, this here shows how much of an impact one man’s life can have on so many. We are all here to support each other during this time, because his death has left us all devastated. We have no words to describe the pain we are feeling,” said Shepherd’s mother, Donna.
“If a man was into a certain kind of life and this happened, then fine, you will hurt, but you will have some sort of understanding. But you see Willdon? He wasn’t into anything illegal at all. He was a humble man, a respectable man, a caring man who loved his family more than anything and always provided for his sons. He didn’t deserve this at all.
“What they kill him for? A gold chain? He’s been wearing that chain for over five years now. He always had it on. And that is what you kill him for? And now, how are we supposed to tell his children that? That their father was taken from them over a gold chain. Right now we don’t even know how to break the news to the oldest son (who is 11-years-old) because he has his Secondary Examination Assessment (SEA) in a matter of days (in May). How does one do that?” asked the mother.
Shepherd’s wife, Natasha Jackson, recalled that on Wednesday afternoon he had offered to pick her up from work.
“He was supposed to come for me because I normally like to finish work at 7 p.m., so typically he would pick me up at that hour. At about 6 p.m. I called him and asked if he was still coming and that I could travel home, because I was thinking he may be tired. He said no, he will come for me. I called him again at 6.45 p.m. and he said he was now leaving home and he will be by me shortly, so I was just waiting in the office for my husband to reach.
“When I saw it was 7 p.m. I called his phone and it went straight to voicemail, but I thought that meant he was outside and trying to get me. So I grabbed all my personal items and went outside. When about 15 minutes passed and he wasn’t there, I began to get worried and that fear became a reality when my sister called and said they just robbed and shot my husband,” said Jackson.
Shepherd, his family said, had four sons, between 11 and six months old.
His killing pushes the murder toll for the year to date to 141.