Tony Toppin, the father of the 24-year-old tattoo artist Shaquille Toppin who was killed on January 8, 2019, died from “a broken heart” not knowing who took the life of his only child.
He died last Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), sometime after doctors told him they could not fix his heart problem. He would have turned 52 today January 10.
Shaquille’s mother Pollinea Gibson-Toppin who observed the first anniversary of her son’s death on Wednesday, January 8, shared the news with Barbados TODAY.
“The doctor say his heart was under severe stress. He just didn’t deal with everything good, so his heart took a toll on him.
“He was grieving quietly. It was just about work for him. Then he was slowing down because he was tired, but he just kept pushing himself until he really couldn’t go anymore. And he just wanted to know who killed Shaquille,” she said.
“So yes, at 51 years old he died too. So whoever killed Shaquille responsible for his death as well. He took Shaquille’s death hard,” she added.
Around 9:55 p.m. on January 8, Toppin was gunned down just a stone’s throw away from his Danesbury, Retreat Road, Black Rock, St Michael home.
On Wednesday, Pollinea, relatives and some of Shaquille’s friends headed to Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens where the tattoo artist was buried one year ago to lay fresh flowers at his gravesite and to participate in prayer and fellowship.
Pollinea who took care of Tony during the last few weeks of his life said she regretted that Tony was not able to make the trip to Coral Ridge with her as they had planned.
“He really wanted to go to the grave, and I told him we would go on Wednesday, but he didn’t make it. He died on Saturday, just days before he would have gotten to go to the grave.”
Pollinea who said the past few days have been extremely difficult and painful for her, stressed that Toppin’s death has taught her that she has no choice but to be strong.
She said saying goodbye to her son has shown her how easy it is to die from heartbreak.
“I have to fight, which I am doing through the grace of God. God has been good to me in all my pain. I asked the Lord to find out who killed my son and I have rested it in God’s hands and don’t let it depress me like before.
“Not that what happened to Shaquille don’t come into my mind, but I just don’t let it get me down like it used to. If you ask God to do something you have to trust him to do it. It has been a year, but it is not too long for God.
“One day we will know who killed Shaquille, a decent and honest young man who was doing something for himself in life,” she said.