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GIRL, 14, SHOT DEAD

By RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS Friday, March 21 2014

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MURCHANNAH LAVIA, 14, was a girl who took pride in her studies. She was described as an intelligent, A-plus student. On Wednesday, while studying outside her Petit Valley home, Murchannah was shot in the chest by a 15-year-old male relative who was standing nearby playing with a gun. She died while being taken to hospital.

Yesterday, her mother Omadavee Lavia sobbed outside the Forensic Science Centre, St James where she had gone to collect the autopsy report and death certificate for her daughter. Lavia was inconsolable.

“My baby was so young! The last time I saw her alive, she was by her computer,” Lavia cried as she described her daughter as a go-getter who planned to ace her exams and get a national scholarship so she (Lavia) would not have to spend money on her education.

Lavia’s pain over the death of her daughter was compounded by the fact that the killer is a close relative, who is now in police custody, as investigators try to find out where he got the firearm and who it belongs to.

Through her tears, the mother of three told Newsday she had left Murchannah and the 15-year-old boy at their Stoer Drive Extension, Petit Valley home on Wednesday evening to attend the wake of a close family friend, not too far away.

According to a police report, at about 8 pm, Murchannah was reading a schoolbook outside the house while nearby, the boy was fiddling with the firearm. A single shot rang out and Murchanna slumped to the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound to her chest.

An alarm was raised and Murchannah was placed in a car by other relatives and taken to the St James Health Facility where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival. A report was made to the St James police and officers who later visited the scene, took the 15-year-old boy into custody.

The firearm, police sources told Newsday, has not been recovered. The boy was still in custody last night at Maraval Police Station.

Lavia yesterday told Newsday that when her cellphone rang while she was at the wake, never in her wildest imagination did she expect the grim news she was to receive — her child had been shot.

Lavia said she quickly left the wake, ran up a hill towards her home and was met halfway by relatives who were carrying a limp Murchannah down the hill towards a car to be taken to the health centre.

Recalling her daughter’s studiousness, Lavia said, “She used to tell me that I wouldn’t have to spend a cent, because she was sure she would get a scholarship. She once told me, ‘don’t worry mommy, when I make it I will put you in a house with everything you would ever need’.

“All my baby used to do was read. She never used to go to parties. She didn’t even have a boyfriend. Oh baby, you didn’t deserve this,” Lavia cried.

“I really need to speak to (name called) to find out what really happened. I just don’t know what happened,” the grieving woman said adding that the 15-year-old relative in question had a history of deviant behaviour and she had tried her best to reform him.

Lavia said that the 15-year-old, who attends a secondary school, had in the past been transferred from several schools because of his behaviour. “Everyday I spoke to that boy. I always told him to stay away from the block,” Lavia said.

“I don’t even know where he got that gun from. I didn’t even know there was a gun in my house.” While Lavia was speaking with Newsday, her husband Anthony was inside the centre witnessing the autopsy on their daughter.

At the family home in Petit Valley yesterday, Murchannah’s brother Anthony was inconsolable.

“At the end of the day my sister is gone...but she has gone to a better place. I really loved my little sister. She was an A plus student. Oh gosh boy she was a jewel, there was no girl in this world nicer than my sister. I real loved my sister,” Anthony cried.

Saying that he forgives the 15-year-old who shot his sister, Anthony added, “I would hate to see him do serious (jail) time...because he is family. But at the same time that boy needs a reality check. Of course we will forgive and I hope the world forgives him too, as it was a mistake...it was a mistake,” Anthony said. Other relatives said that the 15-year-old was not a bad person but was “easily influenced” by persons in the area.

At the Providence Girls Catholic school in Belmont, where Murchannah was a Form Three student, classmates yesterday remembered her as a happy, easy going person. They said she was brilliant, outspoken, courteous, honest and helpful.

Some of Murchanna’s classmates who were closest to her had to receive counselling as news of her death hit them hard. Inspector Thomas of Western Division is spearheading investigations.

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