As the death rattle emitted from Dwayne Burgess’ throat, he called out for his 14-year-old daughter Maya Gittens who was about to witness her worst nightmare.
Gittens watched as her father collapsed and died after he was shot by an unknown assailant around 5 p.m. at Ruby Main Road, St Philip yesterday.
“I was on the sidewalk and I hear the gunshot. Then I saw when he run down and drop, he was like trying to reach me. He called for my name about twice and I holler for daddy.
“I scream and then my uncle and them come and see me,” she recalled to Barbados TODAY while sitting in her grandmother’s Merricks, St Philip home this afternoon.
Burgess, 35, was providing security for one of the bands in the St Philip carnival when there was an altercation with the assailant.
Gittens had just joined her father and, along with some maternal relatives, was at the front of Bayley’s Primary School watching the bands go by when the unthinkable happened.
Under the guidance of her grandmother Lauren Cobham, the teenager talked about the wonderful relationship she had with her father who would sometimes “carry me to the beach” and with whom she often sat and “we would talk about life”.
“He was strong and used to take care of all his children. I told him I want to be a lawyer and he told me I have to do my school work,” the daughter recalled.
She told Barbados TODAY she was struggling to cope, and found it difficult to control the screaming and crying. She said even though several hours had passed since her father died she was saddened that she could have done nothing to save him. And as she spoke, the image of her father dying right before her very eyes kept playing again and again.
“I still don’t believe it. I could still see him falling in front me and hear he calling my name. That could [have been] somebody child that get shoot,” she said, the tears not very far off.
The deceased had three other children, including Taquan, 11, eight-year-old Tiara and Tysha, who is under a year old.
Just a few houses away from Burgess’ Marley Vale home, his two aunts Beverly Gittens, 58, and Marcia Gittens, 61, were also finding it difficult to come to terms with the tragedy.
The circumstances that led to Burgess’ killing remained unclear, with Beverly saying she had heard different stories. However, whatever it was, she said, her nephew, with whom she had been close, did not deserve to die that way.
With her head buried in her hands, a teary-eyed and tired looking Beverly said she would have expected that Burgess, a fisherman and master diver, would have died at sea, his second home.
“Not to hear that he at carnival and somebody shoot he,” she said of her nephew who was a member of the Clarke’s Hill football team.
“You imagine how he daughter feel seeing he dying and eyes skin up? Dwaynie don’t trouble nobody, all he does do is go in the sea and dive.”
The aunt said she was frustrated and angered that every year there were unpleasant incidents at the country’s second largest carnival, and she called for security at the event to be re-evaluated.
“Them need to bring more police or something to stop this foolishness from happening. Every year somebody getting shoot or robbed at this thing.
“Last year I had to run out of King George Park because of what was happening. And the thing is that most of these people jumping in these bands is a whole set of cum yuh’s [people not born in St Philip],” she cried out.
In 2008, the family buried Burgess’ mother who died of natural causes. Now, seven years later, they must make arrangements for his final resting place, Beverly lamented. (AH)