Mere hours before he was to surrender to lawmen in the company of his lawyer Andrew Pilgrim, QC, wanted man Romario Lashley was shot and killed by police this afternoon.
Lashley, 20, of Downes Gap, Arthur Seat, St Thomas, had been on the run since July 9 after he was accused of shooting and wounding 35-year-old police officer Shane Newton of Foul Bay,
Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY he spoke to Lashley two hours before he passed away just after 5 p.m., and the lawyer is now calling for a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death.
“I spoke to him a few hours ago and we made arrangements for him to go into police tomorrow. His father told me he wanted to go today but for some reason I guess that didn’t work out.
“And he said, ‘I want to go in tomorrow’. I asked if he could go for 11[a.m.] and he said, ‘11, 12’ and I said, ‘let’s settle on noon’ and he said ‘alright’. We agreed how he would contact me and so on and then I got this message,” Pilgrim explained, the shock in his voice palpable.
The attorney-at-law said before word had reached him about the young man’s death, he had heard that he was in police custody. The lawyer said he called different police stations but “they said they didn’t have him”.
“And then basically the next thing I heard is that he was dead. The family paid in the money in advance from last week. I spoke to the boy just now. It is an unfortunate situation. It is always strange when you talk to somebody and then moments later you hear that they are not alive,” Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY.
Police issued a bulletin on July 19 seeking the public’s assistance in locating Lashley, who was being sought in connection with a number of serious criminal matters.
Lawmen said he was considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached by members of the public.
Barbados TODAY understands that after police executed a search warrant at 4th Avenue, Harts Gap, Christ Church this afternoon, a confrontation ensued in which Lashley was shot multiple times.
He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead just after 5 p.m.
His mother Maxine, who had earlier appealed to her son to turn himself over to the authorities, said she was not surprised at the way in which her son died.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY on July 11, the woman said she believed her son had gone into hiding because he feared for his life, and she too, was worried he could meet a violent end.
“I want Romario Lashley to please contact me so that I will be able to take him in because at the present moment I am living in fear that he may lose his life . . . . I really don’t want it to come to that,” she said at the time.
Tonight, dropping to the ground at her house while resting her head on a chair for comfort, a grieving Maxine told Barbados TODAY she had prayed her son’s life would not have ended this way.
She said from the time police visited her home in search of the former Combermerian in connection with the shooting on Saturday July 9, she knew “this was going to happen”.
“My son is dead. From day one I knew this is what they were gunning for. I mean it is alleged he shot an officer in his arm. I have not seen him or spoken to him to hear his side,” she said.
The mother said she had received word about Lashley’s death through various sources, but it was confirmed when a female officer visited her home to give her the bad news.
“I could not move. As a mother to get news like that you feel something is dragging your inside out. My whole body just feels as if it is locked down. She was talking and it wasn’t even registering. I am hurting.
“But what I would like them to know is they have taken him out of this world, but God doesn’t sleep and he surely doesn’t take vacations. Retribution will come for everybody. I have left it in God’s hands and justice will be served,” Lashley said, adding that she was feeling mentally and physically drained.
The last time Maxine saw her son’s face was the morning before the officer was shot.
“I didn’t even get the chance to let my child know that I love him. Despite what might have transferred, I love him and I will always love him. That was my child,” she lamented.
The three siblings of the deceased could not hold back the tears when they heard they would never see their brother alive again.
And his father, while comforting Maxine, could not hide the pain he felt. Friends who converged at the house were also in a state of shock.
Police cordoned off the scene where the youth was shot. However, residents gathered at vantage points to catch a glimpse of what was taking place.
Public Relations Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Acting Assistant Superintendent David Welch told Barbados TODAY that investigations would continue into the matter.