Last victim of Harpe Place shooting buried

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pastor Una Lowetha-Thomas and another family member support the daughter of Rudolph Donny Jr. James as she gives the eulogy at the OP Allen Funeral Directors Chapel, Eastern Main Rd, San Juan on March 28. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

PASTOR Una Lowe-Thomas has called on the nation to live by the word of God and to put aside “religion.”

She delivered this message at the funeral of Rudolph James, the last of the five men killed in the Harpe Place mass shooting.

James was laid to rest on March 28 after an intimate ceremony at Allen’s Funeral Home in San Juan.

When funeral attendants opened his coffin for viewing, James’s family broke down in tears as they consoled each other.

Arita James, Rudolph’s daughter, described her father in her eulogy as a man of his word who would have given his all for his family.

“He was a family man who kept us close together. He taught us to love and support each other. He never abandoned us.”

Speaking about her parents, who were married since 2009, James said after her mother became ill in 2022, her father took up the mantle and became both parents. Jokingly, she said, “I think he even became a better cook.”

Pastor Una Lowetha-Thomas and fellow church member at the funeral of Rudolph Donny Jr. James at the OP Allen Funeral Directors Chapel, Eastern Main Rd, San Juan on March 28. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

She said her father had four loves: his family, food, his dogs and money. She added that his favourite book was the Bible and he would often post scriptures from Psalms on social media.

“As time moves on, so will we, but it won’t stop us from forgetting the man who did so much for us. His death came suddenly. No family should have to go through this.”

At times, James became overwhelmed with emotion. She said despite the tragedy, she would work even harder to make her father proud.

Lowe-Thomas, who led the service, focused on the Bible verse John 14:1, telling mourners to let not their hearts be troubled. She urged everyone to have a “dwelling spirit that is of God,” asking them to live a life that is pleasing to God so when they are called, their spirit will be with God. She told the family to lean on Christ and know he is a comforter.

“Regardless of what, we must have faith. When the Son of Man comes again, he is coming for those who are faithful; he isn’t coming for religion.”

On March 16, James and other people were at a birthday party around 10.55am at the Housing Development Corporation apartment complex when a car drove in and its occupants began shooting, hitting eight people.

James, along with Randy Graves and Sgt Larry Phillip, died on the spot. Pete Noray and Devo Jack died later in hospital.

Richard Pierre, Wendell Primus and Akina Thomas were injured.

Police say the shooting was gang-related.

Crime Scene Unit investigators found numerous shell casings when they processed the scene.