Murder victim’s father pleads: ‘Don’t give up on your sons’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A Chaguanas father was left to wonder what else he could have done to steer his son away from criminal elements after he was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on Monday.

Moments after Devon Neils viewed the body of his son Akeem James, on Thursday at the Forensic Sciences Centre, St James, he told Newsday he had spent the past two days pondering all his efforts to discourage his son from associating with a particular group in the area.

He is now advising fathers, who like him, had given up, to keep trying with their sons.

“Whoever has their own alive still: please try harder.

“Mine done gone. That was the only one I had. He has a little boy and I can’t even face that child, because when I see that child, I see my son.

“I tried my best. I don’t know what again, nah.

“I’ve been talking to him as soon as I see him looking to take that road. I used to tell him either he go in jail or get killed.”

James, 27, of Chrissie Terrace, Enterprise was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting while liming outside his home with a group of men. He died of his injuries at the Chaguanas Health Centre. Two other people were injured in the shooting.

The single father said he had raised James since he was eight months old.

He believes his son’s life would have turnd out differently if his mother had been involved.

“She didn’t play much of a part in his life. She dropped him off and never came back.

“Even now that he’s dead she wouldn’t come together to give him a sendoff. I told her, ‘You never play a part. He’s going home now, help me get the birth paper together.’ This too is a problem for her.

“Some women not fit to be mothers. He used to always try to reach out to her – no matter what, he real loved his mother.”

Neils said the family has been having a hard time dealing with the murder. He himself wasn’t shocked by the killing.

“I start to get a vibe when I see certain people around him, and I told him I don’t want any liming near dog kennel near the house, to try to break up the gathering. I keep feeling like something was going to happen, and so said, so done. I come out to feed the dogs and they were liming.

“He see I was vexed and then we just hear shots.

“It was never in him, it was his environment, and most times single fathers are stuck in a particular environment because we don’t have the resources to move to get out. The best I could have done was stay and try.”

Neils said he himself barely escaped with his life, as a bullet grazed his left arm.

“The faster this is over, the faster I can heal from it. That’s what I want now.”