(SNO) – President of the Saint Lucia Boxing Association David ‘Shakes’ Christopher believes former national champion boxer Ronnie Samuel, who shot two people before he was fatally shot by the police on Emancipation Day (Aug. 1), would probably not have chosen a life of crime had he gotten more support from the “system” as a “talented” sportsman.
“It is very sad to see when a sportsman or a sportswoman find themselves on the other side of the line … in these kind of tragic type of situations,” Christopher told St. Lucia Sports Online (SLSO).
According to SLSO, Samuel was a former Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and creole boxing champion. Samuel was also a “talented and skillful basketballer”, according to the SLSO report.
Law enforcement sources told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that Samuel was among scores of people revelling at the J’Ouvert on the streets of Gros Islet town when an altercation broke out between him other males, shortly before 7 a.m.
It is alleged that during the brief fracas, Samuel fired shots into the crowd, hitting Nicholas Montoute of Dauphin Street, Gros Islet and Randy Cherubin of Church Street, Gros Islet. One sustained a gunshot wound to a leg and the other, in the shoulder. It is not clear if Montoute and Cherubin were part of the altercation. It is being alleged that they were innocent bystanders.
Police identified Samuel as the gunman and took immediate action: shooting him. He was transported by ambulance to hospital where he was pronounced dead. His .25 pistol, which was located near to the scene of the shooting in low vegetation, was retrieved by the lawmen.
Cherubin and Montoute were treated at hospital and released.
Law enforcement sources said Samuel was known the police. Ironically, his mother is a police officer.
Meanwhile, the boxing association president went on to say that Samuel could have kept in a paid programme based on his talent.
“I don’t know if I can say probably if more doors have been opened for this young man, be the way of sports where he could have been put in a programme and get some sort of stipend or something to keep him in that programme…. And overseas, a guy with that talent, would have been drawn into some programme… Probably the system didn’t channel enough resources sports-wise,” Christopher told SLSO.
In response to the report on Facebook, several people said they are surprised that Samuel got himself in that situation.
One person asked, “how did Ron got involved in these kinda things, was he really the shooter?”, adding “I watched him play basketball on the Conway court, the boy can play so well.”
Another person said the boxing association could have played a part in saving Samuel.
“While the system fails our youth, the boxing association should have worked out something also. Then again maybe part of the system. I think along with the system, the different organisations need to play their part.”
Christopher, the boxing chief, responded that “it’s a jungle out when it comes to running sports, organisations without funds, to get their programmes implemented while a lot of funds are being spent in other programmes, not involving youth development”.
He said most times, leaders of organisations like his have to spend their “personal funds” to try and realise their goals.
“It is not easy brother. Frustration takes over both athletes and administrators…. So it’s not fair to knock us. We are trying with little $$$$$ support because with most of the results we would be sending our sports people overseas for training cause we don’t have the facilities to take them to world class,” Christopher said.
Another person, commenting on Samuel’s performance as a boxer, said: “RIP champ Ronnie. We will never forget you with those long jabs and plenty counter punches. Only jah knows.”