Pollinea Gibson Toppin is praying that whoever killed her 24-year-old tattoo artist son Shaquille Toppin is caught and be made to feel the full weight of the law.
Gibson-Toppin, who spent the past nine months struggling to come to grips with the loss of her son whom she described as an ambitious role model in his community, said that not knowing who killed her son or why, has delayed her healing process.
Gibson-Toppin told Barbados TODAY: “Nobody has been found but I have confidence most of all in God, because when God say yes no one can say no. And I have confidence in God that the police are doing their best and that they are trying very hard. They call me and if I call they answer.
“They do not ignore me and sometimes they pass to make sure that I am okay. I applaud them because they take time to listen to me and they tell me they haven’t found anybody yet but they are working.
“So it may seem long to me or it may seem long to other people. But it ain’t long to God because God says what is done in the dark will be brought to light and I know one of these days they will reap what they did. I pray and ask God to forgive them, but they will answer for the wrong they did whether it is 15 years from now.”
Around 9:55, on January 8, Toppin was gunned down just a stone’s throw away from his Danesbury, Retreat Road, Black Rock, home. This evening, as she reflected on his life, Gibson-Toppin said she would never forget the sound of the gunshots that riddled her last-born child’s body.
She said: “I stayed in this house and hear all of those shots going in my child. I didn’t know it was my child until my daughter said to me ‘mummy, Shaquille now gone outside’.
“I saw him when he came inside just before that happened. I believe that God brought him in for me to see him alive for that last time.
“My son was a good boy, a loving boy, who died in the streets like an animal because of wickedness and wicked people.
“Those guys planned, executed and killed my child, cold bloodedly, without any feeling. Ask them why and they don’t know. If it was because of jealousy, hatred or girls, whatever, it ain’t worth it.”
Noting that grieving over the loss of her child has been one of the most difficult moments of her life, Gibson-Toppin said she is comforted by the fact that not a day goes by that she does not hear someone say something positive about him.
She said: “It is always something good to hear about him. People would say he was so humble, and he was so nice.
“People would say he was so handsome and he had a beautiful smile that would light up the whole place. Even men talk about that smile. Everybody say to me he was so kind.”
As she sat on her patio wearing one of Toppin’s hats and embracing a framed picture of his face which looks a lot like hers, the mother spoke about how proud she was of his accomplishments.
She spoke about how her son who loved to draw got involved in the tattoo business, and eventually built his own parlour with money out of his pockets. She said it was the many customers that visited Shaquille’s parlour, that taught her how much young people love tattoos.
The mother said she held her son in high regard for his willingness to work hard and long hours to earn an honest dollar. She said he often brought a smile to her face, whenever he encouraged other young people who seemed to be travelling down the wrong path in life, to make the right turn.
She said: “I always knew God, but I know him now for sure because there comes a time in your life when you have to really know God. We does play the fool but there comes a time that God put you on your knees that you have to humble yourself and look to Him.
“This is my time and I wouldn’t like this for my worst enemy. We hear people children get kill and we say he is a bad boy. But that’s somebody child that you kill and God didn’t tell you to kill people. Vengeance is God’s, not yours.
“Don’t care how bad a child is, you don’t have the right to take his life. Nobody knows how it feels like a mother. Even if that child is a bad boy, he is a good boy to his mother because she born him.
“When I use to hear… children get kill, I use to say ‘Lord have mercy’. But now it hit home, I know how it is, and I wouldn’t like it for my worst enemy.
“I don’t know why they kill him, only them and God knows why. But one of these days everybody will know why.”