Deshawn Slater, who was shot and killed in McKies Hill, on Monday, had a narrow escape from gunmen who attacked him at his workplace about a month ago.
Central Kingstown MP, St. Clair Leacock, who is also opposition spokesperson on national security, made the disclosure on radio on Monday, as he spoke about the killing and crimes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
“It is one thing when we speak about these deaths, these murders, these homicides, whatever nice words we want to attach to it but it is even more painful when the parties involved are up close and personal with you,” Leacock said.
“In this case, I happen to know the young man extremely well and I know his mother, his stepfather and other relatives even better,” he further said of the 26-year-old Green Hill man who became the country’s 44th homicide victim this year.
“It’s a matter and a circumstance in which I know the mother has struggled very, very hard over the years to try to manage her son and give him this better life,” Leacock said.
“It is not a secret because the whole community knows that he had a narrow escape three or four weeks ago when they attempted to shoot him on the job site on which he was working and he escaped from that. And it wouldn’t make good sense for me to speak more this morning about other developments save and except to recognise that finally he is gone,” Leacock said.
On Monday, police said that preliminary investigations revealed that on 6:20 a.m. that day, Slater was accosted, chased and shot about his body by two unidentified masked gunmen in Paul Over.
“Slater reportedly ran over an embankment in McKies Hill, where he subsequently collapsed,” police said.
Earlier reports were that Slater’s body was found in Murray’s Village.
Investigators are asking anyone with information that can assist the investigation to call 999/911, 1784-456-1810, any police station or speak with any police officer with whom they are comfortable. They have promised to treat information confidentially.
Slater made national headlines in April 2017 when he was freed of a murder charge because the file in the case was not ready.
On Aug. 1, 2016, Slater, then serving a three-year jail term for firearm possession, was charged with the 2014 murder of fellow villager, Aninka Stowe.
Stowe died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on Oct. 20, 2014, where she was taken after being shot in the chest in Green Hill around 9 p.m.
However, on April 3, 2017, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne dismissed the murder charge against Slater after the court heard that the file was still at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, and therefore, the prosecution was not ready for a preliminary inquiry.
The matter had come up for hearing a number of times before the chief magistrate dismissed the charge, noting the length of time that had elapsed.
On Feb. 10, 2015, Browne sentenced Slater to three years in prison for possession of a firearm, without a licence.
He was arrested in Green Hill two days earlier when police found the weapon in a sack he was carrying.
Slater told the court that he had found the weapon, which was not loaded, while digging dasheen, and was going to take it to the police.