In what appeared to be a premonition of sorts, the uncle of Colleen Payne of Lodge Hill, St Michael warned her before she left for home last night not to visit the automated teller machine (ATM).
Two weeks earlier, Payne’s younger sister Ella Nowell had issued the same advice about going alone to the ATM at night.
However, an unassuming Payne failed to heed that advice and it cost her her life as she was gunned down last night as she attempted to use the ATM at Royal Bank of Canada on University Drive, St Michael. She later succumbed to her injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Today, Nowell said she was in shock, but most of all she was angry that her sister had not listened.
“When I found out I was angry. I was angry because just two weeks ago I told my sister, ‘do not go to the ATM late in the evening by yourself. ATM’s are dangerous, so much things are happening these days, and down at UWI [ATM at University Drive] is one of those places where people aren’t in and out after certain times’.
“My sister, like all of us, believes that God would take care of us, so she went down to the ATM and did what she had to do. . . [not expecting] that anyone would want to hurt her,” Nowell said.
The grieving sister said as soon as police arrived at her house last night asking if she knew Payne, she realized something was wrong.
“I heard a knock at the door. I thought it was my husband’s brother, but then the person said it was the police. He asked if I know a Colleen Payne [and] from the time he said that I just lost it. I was up in his face asking him to tell me what was wrong with my sister. Because of that he did not tell me anything, he talked to her daughter. He just said, ‘get to the hospital’.
“My daughter had to call my brother to get a ride to the hospital. I didn’t move from next to the phone because I had to know what happened to my sister. All they were saying was that she’s alright.”
Nowell described her late sister as a stellar woman who loved children.
She worked at the Nightingale Nursery for over 30 years and was looking forward to retirement in two years’ time.
“My sister is quiet. But don’t think that because she’s quiet you can get over her. She carries a stern face sometimes but that means nothing. You have to get to know her. Once you get to know her you realize there’s lots of personality behind it.
“My sister is an advocate for children. She really loved children and she really wanted to see them in God’s kingdom,” Nowell said, often speaking in the present tense as if Payne were still alive.
Not only was Payne a pillar of strength in her community, she was the same to her church, the Black Rock Seventh Day Adventist Church, where she served as Pathfinder Club Director. At the time of her death, she was preparing for a youth camp, which was set to begin on Thursday.
Today, Pastor Dayle Haynes told Barbados TODAY he was still in shock over Payne’s killing, saying the church had lost a great member.
“It’s a tough feeling. She was a lady who was just vibrant and energetic and full of life and it’s so sad. It’s a big loss for the church. She was not only a pathfinder but she also worked with the children being a professional, a wonderful mentor for all the young ladies and children at the church. She was also a wonderful team player too. She served on the church board and would always support us. She was present at all the meetings and she would always give her input and try to help us impact our church community.
“She had a dry humour about her, very witty. If she told you she would be there at nine, she would be there for nine. If she told you she was going to help you, she would help you. She will be sorely missed,” he added.
People living near the bank said last night’s deadly attack was the latest episode of rising crime in the area, and they were now living in fear.
“Usually my grandchildren are out there playing and sometimes I even have to call them in from out there. It could have been one of them that get caught in the midst of the fire last night. That’s not good. Them need to do something,” said one resident who requested anonymity.
Another resident who runs a business from his home and often uses the same banking machine, said the fact that the killing happened so close to home had sent “chills down your spine”.
He told Barbados TODAY he would either have to cut down on business hours of improve security.
“Sometimes after ten I’m still here working. But now I’m going to have to lock up earlier or put some sort of measures in place. You have to realize that things are happening. You have to take steps now to secure your place properly. The fact that it’s so close send chills down your spine. I use that ATM all the time,” he said.
Police are appealing to anyone with information about the incident to contact the Black Rock Police Station at 417-7500, or 417-7505, Police Emergency at 211, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477, or the nearest police station.