The tears streaming down the face of 69-year-old Hazel Clarke tell the story of a mother’s unbearable grief and intense regret over the killing of her youngest child.
What started as an evening at the Pro-Fit Gym in Civilian Road, Bush Hall, St Michael ended fatally for Clarke’s daughter, Pauline, around 8:30 last night.
Police said the 38-year-old had just completed a session and was making her way home when an unknown assailant approached her vehicle and fired multiple gunshots.
She was accompanied by her 17-year-old daughter, Keelia, who was also injured and had to be rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for medical treatment.
The blood stains on the ground near where Pauline’s car was parked today served as a grim reminder of the horrific event that was still lurking in the minds of those who were at the fitness centre with the victim mere moments before the killer struck.
Many were shocked and traumatized, and the shooting has forced a temporary halt to operations at the gym.
“She had just started the car to leave with her daughter and we just heard about five gunshots. Most of us were still in the gym, but when we got out there the person that shot her was already gone and she was just in the car lying,” one person who has lived in the area for nearly two decades told Barbados TODAY.
“It is really heartbreaking and sad for this particular avenue. Bush Hall might have its issues, but this avenue is one of the most peaceful communities. I have never encountered nothing like this. It is scary,” said the resident, who requested anonymity.
Sombre faces and teary eyes greeted Barbados TODAY during a visit this morning to Pauline’s Chase Gap, Halls Road, St Michael home, as the distraught community grappled with the cruel reality of her violent death.
Her mum displayed all the signs of a mother overcome by agony and left to put the pieces together.
“How do you expect me to feel? That is my child,” she said.
“I saw my child with her face swell up big, and all the blood coming through her mouth. They take my child away from me and a mother away from her child.
“Pauline is a very pleasant person. She has a lot of friends. She don’t get in any noise with nobody, she don’t be in nothing,” the mournful mum said, speaking as though her daughter were still alive.
“Of course, I will want justice for something like this. The person that did this must pay the penalty for it. They need to be punished,” she said.
Police have appealed to anyone with information about the shooting to contact police emergency at 211, or any police station.
They also vowed “to have a thorough investigation with the goal of bringing the offender in this matter to justice”.
However, up until the time of publication lawmen were no closer to finding out who was responsible for the young woman’s death or the motive for the killing.
Pauline’s family members, including her eldest sister, Beverley, with whom she enjoyed a close relationship, also wanted to know who did it, and why.
“We were extremely close; best pals. I could call to her and ask her anything and she could do the same with me. It is just really hurtful to see what happened. To see her like that last night, I am just numb and shaken and at a loss for words,” Beverley said.
“I don’t know why this person would do this to us. She just used to have fun. She is a loving, caring person,” the grief-stricken sister said.