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Ag COP: Police concerned about youth killings

By Rachael Espinet Monday, July 14 2014

STATISTICALLY, young people have been in the majority when it comes to violent crime whether as victim or perpetrator. This was the view of Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams in response to the number of teenagers who have been gunned down for the year.

To date, out of 233 people murdered for 2014, 19 have been under the age of 20. The latest was Standard Five student Daryon Baker who was 13 years old. Baker was shot multiple times about the body when he was on his way to his Cizan Trace, Diego Martin home at about 9 pm on Friday. Baker’s relatives say he was not involved in gang activity, and claimed that on his way home Baker saw the shooters and that was the reason he was killed. Williams did not address Baker’s death directly, nor did he allude to Baker being involved in any criminal activity.

However, Williams said, “A lot of murders during the years have involved young people. Young people are the victims, and perpetrators. That population group is the most vulnerable.”

Williams said the police and society have a challenge with young people being involved in violent crimes. He said the Police Service is concerned about the situation but there is nothing unexpected about young people being perpetrators or victims.

Commenting on the fear citizens are feeling as the murder toll rises, Williams said, “Every single violent act such as a shooting or murder brings with it fear. Until as a society we can address the violence, there will be fear.” Baker’s mother Natalie Baggan told Newsday yesterday her son was a kind loving child who was not involved in gang activity.

“They ambushed him from the back and started to shoot him up. He was a loving child. I just want to know why they wanted to do that. He was a baby. They just wanted to kill people. He never used to smoke or drink and he did not know anything about guns,” Baggan said. Baker would have written the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination next year. The slain 13-year-old wanted to attend Mucurapo West Secondary School where his brother attends. Baker was the fourth of Baggan’s 14 children. The grieving mother said while she loves all her children, Baker was a “special” and “unique” child who she loved very much. “I love all my children, but he was a different type of person. He always wanted to do things for people. He loved his father. He was a kind loving person. He was born on Christmas day. Now there is no Christmas,” Baggan said.

She called on those who killed her son to put down their guns and turn to God. “For the people who murdered my son, please turn over your life to the Father,” Baggan said. Contacted yesterday for a reaction to the increasing number of young people under the age of 19 being murdered, National Security Minister, Gary Griffith said his job was not to give an “emotional reaction” to the murders, but to create strategic policies.

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