What was supposed to a joyous Christmas reunion for three siblings turned into a heart-wrenching tragedy with the shooting death on Boxing Day of 21-year-old Tavon Kaiseen Alleyne of Lakes Close, Eden Lodge, St Michael.
Tavon, his elder sister Tanella, and his younger brother, who was not named, had not spent much time together since their mother died about 15 years ago.
The three – cousins of Barbadian superstar Rihanna – moved to Eden Lodge six months ago in the hope of making up for lost time after many years of separation.
However, hours after spending some time with Rihanna on Christmas Day, Tavon became the year’s 30th murder victim after he was shot multiple times by an unknown assailant while walking in the vicinity of his home.
The circumstances surrounding his killing are unclear, but police said the shooting occurred at approximately 7 p.m., and the shooter fled the scene. Alleyne was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a private vehicle but ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
“This just dampened our Christmas season because this was our first Christmas together,” a dejected Tanella told Barbados TODAY.
“On Christmas morning after he cleaned the house he told me we should pray because he knew how we come up. We lost our mother when I was seven years old and it was not easy coming up as children because we were always separated. So I guess he was so thankful that we finally got the opportunity to live as one.”
The mournful sister would not discuss their mother’s death, nor that of their sister in 2002.
However, she said her brother had often suffered from depression as he became overwhelmed by the loss of loved ones. In fact, she said, Tavon carried the guilt of their sister’s death.
“He always felt like he was to blame for my sister’s death because he was supposed to be the man and that he was not securing everybody enough. He felt as though it was his job to protect his mother’s children,” an emotional Tanella explained.
The 22-year-old sister had earlier shared on social media a picture of Tavon in a hospital bed, stating: “I never thought the day would come that I would have to bury you my love, omggg!!! this was our first Christmas together we clean, we decorate and everything!! Tavon I know you was trying to be a better person!! I loveee you soooo muchhhhhhhhh brother omg!”
She told Barbados TODAY that she heard the shots that took her brother’s life, but initially thought someone was banging on galvanize, until a neighbour gave her the tragic news.
Tanella said she was also concerned about her younger brother, who was the one who discovered his bullet-ridden brother on the ground after hearing the gunshots, and who saw Tavon dying a painful death on the way to the hospital.
“My little brother ran outside when he heard the shots because he was across by his girlfriend’s house and he saw Tavon on the ground and put him in the car [and accompanied him to the hospital],” she said.
“Right now he does not want to speak to anybody, but I know that the image must be troubling him.”
In a desperate search for answers Tanella has been trying to figure out who might have wanted her brother dead.
In the end, she concluded that “it had to be a case of mistaken identity” because she was not aware that her brother had any enemies.
“As far as I know Tavon had no enemies and as I as told other people, boys will be boys. He is not like my other brother; if Tavon has something to tell you he will tell you. He is not the type of person that will attack you. I know this is some kind of mistake because he and nobody in Eden Lodge had no problems.
“He used to walk around to his cousins that live further down the road. So this just comes as a shock to me,” she said, revealing that on the fateful night Tavon was on his way to visit a friend, having just returned from a party cruise.
The 22-year-old also said she had since been in touch Rihanna, whose given name is Robyn Fenty, and that the Barbadian star is devastated by the news.
“She is in shock because she don’t see him very often, but she saw him and hugged him on Christmas Day only to later realize that would be the last time that they would meet. She is not taking it good at all. She told me that she is thinking about my brother and me the most,” Tanella said.
The killing gained international attention after a shattered Rihanna paid tribute to Tavon on Instagram, sharing several photos with him.
“Can’t believe it was just last night that I held you in my arms,” she wrote last night.
“Never thought that would be the last time I felt the warmth in your body!!! Love you always man . . . #endgunviolence.”
She posted on Instagram Stories a black background with Tavon’s handle, @merka_95, along with: “rest up lil cuz.” She also shared emojis of praying hands, a crying face and a broken heart, and an angel.