Dozens turn up to bid farewell to Cocorite murder victim

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Esther Baker, center, great-aunt of Shaquille Ottley, joins the pastor and other relatives in a closing prayer at Ottley’s funeral at Phase One, Powder Magazine, Cocorite on May 14. Ottley was one of four people shot and killed in Cocorite on May 5. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

AS one of the victims of the Cocorite quadruple murder was laid to rest on May 14, his great-aunt said a prayer for a turnaround in the nation’s way of life.

The funeral service for Shaquille Ottley, 22, one of the four men gunned down on May 4 in Phase One, Powder Magazine, Cocorite, took place in the community on May 14.

Jonathan Osmond, 36, Antonio Jack, 57 and Sadiki Ottley, 31, were also killed in the attack. Their funerals are expected to happen sometime this week.

Dozens of mourners turned out at a basketball court in Cocorite for the service. Ottley’s body was later buried at a cemetery in Tunapuna.

His great-aunt Esther Baker joined Pastor Marvin Andrews and Ottley’s relatives in prayer at the end of the service.

“I pray a change and a turnaround will take place in this country. I pray the whole nation will turn around. He (Ottley) was a nice child, a humble child, just different.”

She said something had happened in Trinidad and Tobago that shifted the nation’s narrative from one of love.

“Our nation is a blessed nation. Shaquille’s death must not go in vain. Change has to come, God is in control.”

Andrews, who taught Ottley at the Diego Martin North Secondary School, said the funeral was no ordinary one.

He thanked God for having known Ottley and considered him “a very, very, very, humble young man. Once you spent time with him, you knew this boy was a different boy.”

Andrews said while other students called him by his last name, Ottley called him “Marv,” a testament to their close relationship, for which he would always remember him.

On May 5, one day after the murders, police held a 29-year-old man at the Piarco International Airport while he was waiting to board a flight to New York.

The Cocorite resident was described by officers as a “person of interest” in the murders. Police searched the man’s home, where they reportedly found ammunition for a high-powered rifle and held a 33-year-old relative for questioning.

On the same day, Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher visited the community and promised residents that resources would be allocated to the investigation and catching those responsible for the men’s deaths.

On May 6, Ottley’s mother spoke to Newsday while waiting for the results of her son’s autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre. She said if he was a criminal, she could have understood why he was killed.

“If my son was a gunman, I could have understood it. I would have said, ‘You shooting people, so you live by the gun, you die by the gun.’ But he was nothing like that. So how am I supposed to take this?” the grieving mother asked.

She said her son and his friends were liming in the community, which they did often when they were attacked.

“That was a normal thing for them every weekend. Sometimes during the week and all. That is not a block, and them fellas is not no badman.”