Shoppers, storeowners and staff were left shaken today when news that a woman had suddenly collapsed and died briefly halted activity at the bustling Sheraton Mall this morning.
According to police, Roseann Janice Niles, 47, of Butler’s Avenue, Gall Hill, Christ Church, collapsed around 10.45 a.m. in fabric store Abed’s, while shopping with her siblings.
Family members, seemingly in a state of shock, could not bring themselves to comment on Niles’ sudden passing when Barbados TODAY arrived on the scene.
The Abeds Sheraton branch had just reopened after undergoing refurbishment for several weeks, said managing director Eddy Abed.
He however noted that management at the store were equipped to handle the emotional trauma suffered by the staff as a result of the sudden death.
In a press release this afternoon, the management of Abed’s expressed shock, and extended deepest condolences to Niles’s family and loved ones. Abed said he was extremely sorry to hear of the woman’s death.
“This was difficult for everyone involved, especially the family of the deceased, and our staff and management on duty at Sheraton,” the release said.
Abed also apologized to customers affected by any interruption of service, and thanked them for patience and understanding.
The store quickly closed for rest of the morning and part of the afternoon to public, with an opaque barrier drawn across, shielding the employees from inquisitive eyes.
Also visibly distressed was acting general manager of Sheraton Mall, Judy Trotter, who described the incident as unfortunate while the mall was still assessing the situation.
“I have not visited any of the other stores
as yet that were in close proximity to the incident, so I cannot speak to their state of mind. At this moment I don’t want to say much more. I am going to leave that to the police,” said Trotter.
Pierre Mapp, staff member of nearby store Gadget Central, said, “I was in the store and I just heard people passing and saying that someone would’ve [fallen] down in Abeds; it is only later after that we would’ve heard that it may have been someone passing away.”
Another neighboring store employee said that she was “offset” upon learning of the incident after the confusion subsided.
“To be honest there was no real scramble or rush and . . . even though I was right next door, I did not know what was going on . . . . When the police came I thought that someone was caught shoplifting. However, when I understood that somebody died, I was real offset,” she told Barbados TODAY. (SG)