Barbados’ latest murder victim spent his entire adult life behind bars and met his untimely end less than a week after being relieved of a murder charge, that had been hanging over his head for almost three years.
But relatives of Joshua Shakeem Alexander, 20 have had little time to process the loss. Instead, they are praying for the speedy recovery of his father, David Alexander, who was also wounded on Wednesday night, when a gunman came calling.
Lawmen said the shooting occured around 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday at 1st Avenue, Jackson, St Michael, where Joshua lived with both of his parents and his two brothers.
Barbados TODAY investigations revealed that David, his three sons and two other men were in the verandah when the gunman opened fire.
“I was inside when I heard ‘bang, bang, bang!’ and I heard it echoing,” said Lionel Hinkson, who has lived in the area for as long as he can remember. “I didn’t know what it was because that was the first time I heard anything so,” he added.
A close relative of the victims, who lives much closer to where the incident occurred, watched in disbelief as the gunman carried out what in his opinion looked like an execution.
“I was there in my window watching TV and I heard a shot and I looked up from the window and the man was there pointing at the gallery ‘pax pax pax pax pax’ and he took off and ran through the back,” said the relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“That person could have killed six people because it was [Joshua’s] father and three sons in the gallery and two other people. That person could have killed all of them, but the way I saw the person holding the gun, I knew that person was a shooter. I believe it was a hit.
“Right now the father is in the hospital, he hasn’t even gotten surgery yet. That is what we are waiting on, because Joshua is already dead,” the relative explained on Thursday morning.
David, a mason, carpenter and tiler, is said to be in his 50s and has a very close relationship with his sons. Relatives said he had been shot in his shoulder and chest, but the severity of his injuries was unclear.
“Right now he is in the hospital just crying. He couldn’t take it last night,” said the relative.
In July of 2017, Joshua, who at the time lived at Well Gap, Cave Hill, St Michael, was charged with murdering meteorologist Emilien Peter, of Meadowville, Prior Park, St James. Peter, 28, was found lying in a pool of blood at Well Gap around midnight, on June 16 of the same year.
The teen was remanded to Dodds Prison and though subsequently offered bail, his family apparently could not raise the necessary funds.
However, last Friday, Barbados TODAY understands Joshua was released from prison when, for reasons unknown, the charges were dropped.
“Joshua was a nice person,” said the relative.
“People talk because he just came out of prison, but it seems the law enforcement system in Barbados is not working properly. They had the youngster in prison for three years sitting down for a murder that he did not commit. He only went to court to be remanded, because it never even went to trial.
“How could you charge a youngster, at 17 years old with murder, if you don’t have the evidence, when there are people in Barbados on three and four murder charges being offered bail?” asked the upset relative.
The relative said that Joshua, a former Darryl Jordan Secondary School student, was cheated of an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the society.
Efforts to reach Joshua’s lawyer were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Hinkson, said his heart was aching for the family of his slain relative.
“He isn’t a bad fella or anything so neither. He is a really quiet person and as far as I know, he doesn’t interfere with anybody or anything. He always spoke to you in a good manner,” Hinkson said.
In fact, Hinkson said he only knew about Joshua’s murder charge after overhearing discussions on the night he was murdered.
“I don’t get too mixed up with other people’s business, but when I hear these things, it makes me scared. It had no right happening… Everybody has life and breath like anybody else. You have no right doing that type of thing to people,” he said. [email protected]