It was about 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 when Hyacinth Augustin, an employee of Sandals Grande in Gros Islet, received a call at work from her boyfriend.
It was bad news.
Her 16-year-old son, and third of four children, Kevin Constantine aka Duck, was shot to death in front of their residence in Maynard Hill, Castries.
Kevin’s best friend, 16-year-old Kyle Samuel, has been admitted at Victoria Hospital.
Unofficial reports are that Kevin was shot in the head and died on the spot, while his friend received a wound to the eye.
Both are students of George Charles Secondary School.
Hours earlier on Saturday, it was merriment between mother and son.
While Augustin prepared for work, her son was on the computer watching a Youtube video of Jamaican dancehall artiste Ninja Man. He wanted his mother to see the action.
“We were talking about the show… He tell me ‘come and see how they beat up Ninja Man on the stage’,” a teary-eyed Augustin told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) as she recalled the final moments with her son.
She said her son played football at George Charles Secondary School and had recently bought chin guards.
Augustin said she left home for work shortly after midday.
“I tell him bye, bye, I will see them when I come from work,” she said.
But that was the last time she would see Kevin – alive.
The deceased’s grandmother, 67-year-old Grace Augustin, also shared her final moments with Kevin.
She said on Saturday afternoon she gave her grandson a cheese stick, and while he ate, they shared jokes.
“I say ‘Kevin you not going Martinique for Christmas?’ He tell me he don’t know yet. I tell him ‘that’s where your father killing the big pigs so you must go there’ and he started laughing,” Grace said.
The grandmother said Kevin went to sleep after their conversation, but he was awaken by his best friend who wanted to chill on the street corner.
“A friend (the other shooting victim) came by and call him, that’s why he go by the road,” said Grace.
“They sit down by the road and I heard the shots,” she added.
Kevin’s uncle interjected: “It was plenty shots… I heard about six shots… I thought it was the electric pole that catch fire.”
After the shooting subsided, several young men from Kevin’s yard (which has several houses) went to investigate. The tragic news was relayed to Kevin’s grandmother: her grandson was killed.
She ran onto the dark road on Maynard Hill. She saw her grandson’s body sprawled in bushes by the road side. She recalled that she could not see his wound/s because it was dark.
She shook his feet and called his name several times but got no response, then she started to scream.
“It’s hard, it’s hard,” she moaned, hands on her forehead. “I never thought today I would see Kevin die…”
“Kevin don’t trouble nobody,” she said. “He only smoke his lil marijuana.”
“He never got in no fight with nobody.” But as she said this, a very young relative interrupted, and said: “Of course he was in fights… He burst a boy mouth…”
Kevin’s mother, Hyacinth, also told SNO that her son was not a troublemaker and she always warned him to avoid bad company. She said his routine was from school to home, chilling with friends in the yard, drinking and ‘kixing’ (sharing jokes).
However, when quizzed about her son’s involvement in a fight, she admitted that Kevin was the subject of an ongoing feud between another youth and his brother, and that her son has received death threats which were reported to the police.
She told SNO that the feud between men from Maynard Hill and surrounding communities have been going on for years. She further disclosed that last year Kevin was attacked when she sent him to buy phone credit a few blocks from their house, up the hill.
At the time Kevin was accompanied by another friend.
“They pull a knife on him (Kevin) and his friend ran back home to tell me. The boys (Kevin’s friends) went up the road and warned them to leave Kevin alone… then everything calmed down for a while,” she said.
An alleged altercation between her son and another young boy several months ago reignited the feud.
“Everywhere they see Kevin they trouble him… They always say they gonna kill him,” she said.
SNO understands that Kevin and his friends have been accused of causing trouble, and that several messages were relayed to Kevin to desist. SNO also understands that on one occasion, a man went to Kevin’s home. Kevin was not at home and so the man left a “message” with a relative of Kevin. No one disclosed the content of the verbal message when SNO inquired.
Kevin’s Facebook also paints a picture of a young man dabbling with fun and gangster vibe. His photo album shows pictures of marijuana and him posing with other young men at the local cinema.
A friend’s comment on a photo of Kevin on Facebook states: “Lol want to be innocent”.
Kevin response states: “I eh want to be innocent, I no I innocent.”
Police intervention lacking
Kevin’s distraught mother said if the police had intervened effectively, her son would still be alive. She said after someone pulled a knife at her son, she reported the matter to the police but she alleged that the lawmen did not show up the same day. She claimed she visited the CID the following day and made a formal report, some investigation was carried out, but to her knowledge no one got arrested.
“They never ever tried to put a stop to the problem,” she pointed out.
Friends of Kevin told SNO a similar story. They claimed they were victims of shootings and stabbings, attacks that were carried out by men from nearby communities.
One member of the group told SNO the police will show up to investigate alleged attacks from their group but whenever they are attacked, and the matter is reported, the cops do not show up.
Another told SNO that he is a victim of attacks, showing a hand missing a finger. He said he lost his finger in a shooting, and he also lost his brother, cousins and other friends to violence.
“You see now there? An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” said another friend of Kevin’s.
“I telling you bold face, enough is enough,” he added.
The men told SNO that the police know who the instigators are but are not doing their job, and are instead targeting men from Maynard Hill, which is branded a volatile ghetto – a label which the men reject.
“Anyone can come here, as you can see we are cool people. We no ghetto,” he said.
The men say at least four of their friends have been killed over a period of time and they have never retaliated, but now is the time to fight back as an innocent young man described as “helpful” is the latest victim of an ongoing feud.
And if the police is unable to do the job, they vow vigilante justice.
“We is the law now,” said another. “A man must fall, watch the vibe. That’s the wrong man they kill gasa. They tell us to chill, smoke and forget it but it ain’t going so.”
Kevin’s grandmother, Grace, said she has been living in the community for 61 years and have seen many violent deaths. She is also troubled by the rising homicide rate in St. Lucia.
She said government should place street lights on the road where Kevin got killed. Darkness allows gunmen to carry out their crime and escape with ease, she said.
“People killing too many people. For the year you hearing 30, 40 people die and nothing come out of it,” she noted, while calling on the police to do more to stop the violence.