NASSAU –– Ivan Cleare, 61, expected Sunday to see his grandson christened and celebrate the occasion with family for the remainder of the day.
But before he could head to Mount Pleasant Green Baptist Church for the event, the father of three sons and four grandchildren was shot dead at the Scotiabank ATM at Jerome Avenue and Wulff Road during what police suspect was a robbery.
After receiving the devastating news, Cleare’s family gathered, not to celebrate the christening of his grandson, but to mourn his death and process the shock of it all.
Hours after circulating the security footage image of the suspect, police reported that the man was in custody. Police said he was found with a gun.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean said shortly after 8 a.m., police received information of the crime.
“We are trying to determine exactly what happened,” Dean said at the scene.
“We do not have a motive. We suspect that it might be robbery at the initial outlook.”
Last night, chartered accountant Philip Stubbs said Cleare, who was his sister’s husband, was a quiet family man.
“He was an unassuming person,” Stubbs told The Nassau Guardian.
“He would be in the crowd and you wouldn’t know he was there, but he was a good father, a good husband. He just went about doing what he had to do without trying to impress anyone.”
Stubbs said he got a call from his sister Sunday saying something was wrong.
Cleare’s wife and eldest son were called by the police and asked to come in.
“They didn’t now what was going on,” Stubbs said. “That is where they eventually found out. When they got there police broke the news to them that there was a robbery and he was the victim and he had succumbed.”
Leon Rahming, a long-time clerk at the House of the Assembly who died in 2013, was married to the sister of Cleare’s widow.
And about a year and a half or so ago, Stubbs said, his (Stubbs’) father died.
This means his sister has lost a brother-in-law, her father and now her husband in the space of a few short years. So the murder was another blow for the family.
Stubbs noted that Rahming’s death was shocking because it was sudden, but Cleare’s death is tragic.
“This freshened the wounds for everyone,” he said. “We were preparing for a family get together at our old homestead.”
Cleare was the son of the late Rev. John Cleare of New Bethlehem Baptist Church.
As news of the murder spread across social media platforms, many expressed fear and outrage over the incident.
Police also reported that on Saturday a woman was robbed while making a deposit
at an ATM at a bank on Shirley Street around 9 a.m. Saturday.
Dean cautioned members of the public against going to ATMs alone.
“We are asking members [of the public] to be very cautious, particularly when coming to the ATM machines, particularly when making deposits at banks [during] the night time or day time,” he said.
“We are asking you to please, do not travel to these places alone. And . . . check your surroundings.”
Dean urged business owners who have not yet done so to hire security firms to assist with bank deposits.
Cleare’s death brought The Bahamas’ murder count for the year to 54.
Last night, police reported that two men were shot dead around 9 p.m. on Adderley Street in Fox Hill.
The details of those latest murders were not immediately clear.
There were 146 murders recorded in 2015, the highest in recorded Bahamian history.