‘Leave it to God and the law’: Grieving father calls for peace

Justin Manderson with his son Justin Jr. Mr. Manderson's family say Justin had changed his life since having a child.

UPDATE: Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of Justin Manderson.

ORIGINAL: The father of Justin Manderson has appealed for peace on the streets, urging his son’s friends not to seek revenge for the killing and “leave it to God and the law.”

Jake Manderson said he was devastated following the death of his 24-year-old son, who was shot and killed outside Nectar nightclub in 7 Mile Shops in the early hours of Saturday.

“I don’t want anyone to retaliate for what was done to Justin. I don’t want them to try to take revenge and leave another family grieving,” he said.

“Anyone that knows anything, please come forward and let the police know and get some justice for my son,” he said.

Detectives are investigating the possibility that the killing may have been a reprisal attack. Justin Manderson had been charged with the January 2015 murder of Victor Oliver Yates in

West Bay, but the case was dropped ahead of a planned trial last year.

Mr. Manderson acknowledged that his son, who was also charged but acquitted of an earlier attempted murder, was “no angel” but he said he did not believe he was responsible for some of the crimes he had been accused of. He said he had been turning his life around following the birth of his child, and after a brief spell in jail while on remand in connection with the Yates killing.

Jake Manderson with his sons Justin and Jordan in an old family picture.
Jake Manderson with his sons Justin and Jordan in an old family picture.

“He had a good job, he had a son just born, he would go to work and come home.

“He was always joking and trying to make you smile, he was always respectful to me and to everybody in the neighborhood,” he said.

“I know some people hated my child, but they didn’t have to kill my child. Somebody has to be held responsible for this.”

Mr. Manderson, who shared a home with his son in West Bay, said he had feared for his son’s life before he was killed.

“It was always in my mind that this could happen. They accused him of the murder down by Super C’s. He was shot before up by Pop a Top. It was always in my mind. I couldn’t sleep unless he was home.

“I thought now it was over, he had his son and he had changed his life.”

Mr. Manderson said he received a call around 2 a.m. that his son had been shot. He raced to the scene, but by that time his son had been rushed to hospital.

“He was still up but he was in a lot of pain and he was shouting for me. He said, ‘Daddy, I’m dying,’ and he kept calling my name.”

It was just after 3:30 a.m. when the medical staff informed Mr. Manderson that his son was dead.

“I can’t sleep. I can hear him calling for me. It is rough. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

“I know the parents of the boy they say he shot must feel the same. I don’t want anyone except for the police to go looking for the people who shot my son. I don’t want any other family to feel like this.”

Mr. Manderson, who lives in the Birch Tree Hill area, has seen his other son, Jordan, jailed for gun possession and two other members of his extended family, David Ebanks and Jason Powery, shot.

“I can’t find words to describe this stuff that is going on. I just wish there was something that all of us could do to change this thing. It should never have started and it has got to stop.”

Mr. Manderson said he was close to his sons and had taken them on the water from when they were young and taught them the trade. Justin worked with his uncle running Stingray City tours and later with Kelly’s Water sports, he said.

Appeal for witnesses

Police meanwhile issued a renewed appeal for witnesses.

“A full investigation is under way with a team of detectives assigned to the matter who are following up on lines of inquiry,” said Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay.

“We suspect that there were more people in that busy area at that time who may have seen or heard something. We’re asking that you come forward and tell us what you saw or heard, it could make all the difference.

“We know that there are probably people who would rather not be involved, but we need them to contact us nonetheless because this is about helping us ensure the safety of our community. If you were near 7 Mile Shops between 1:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m., and saw something you think we should know, please call us.”

George Town CID can be reached at 949-4222. Anonymous tips can be provided via the Miami-based call centre of Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS(8477), or online.