Promising future shattered - community, school mourn Kela
An extraordinary student that had a promising future were the words from Susan Simms, principal of Glendevon Primary in St James, as she described the late Kela Bailey.
The nine-year-old was allegedly shot and killed when a firearm, reportedly brandished by a 14-year-old boy, went off while they were playing at her home last Friday.
"If I had to sum her up in one word, then a 'gem' is what best describes her. She was trustworthy, courteous and a real leader," said Simms of the Grade Three student.
When THE WESTERN STAR visited Kela's home in Beverly Hills District in Glendevon, a pall of gloom hung over the home as residents tried to offer emotional support.
Kela's mother, Shena Grant, was constantly consoled by representatives of both the Ministry of Education's trauma team and the Peace Management Initiative.
She tightly grasped a dozen or more medals won by little Kela, who was a talented athlete.
'One gyal pickney'
Family members said Kela aspired to become a doctor, was also on the school's honour roll and was actively involved in extra-curricular activities.
Upon hearing the news of Kela's death, Dr Elon Thompson, president of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA) lamented that Jamaica has been robbed of a potential doctor.
"The JMDA notes the high incidence of violent crimes that continue to plague our society. The recent killing of nine-year-old Kela in St James is very sad as are all the murders that have occurred," he said.
Kela's father Michael, lamented the loss of his "one gyal pickney".
"Me mash up. I don't know how mi a guh manage without her. When I come home a evening time from work, me always come kiss her and the other little ones pon them forehead and now mi only girl child gone," he said.
Bailey said the last time he spoke to Kela was on Thursday night when they went to the supermarket.
"When we reach home she tell me say she nuh want go school Friday because nutten nah gwaan. So me tell the mother seh nuh bother pressure her fi go school the next morning. Mek she stay. Mi daughter go her bed. In the morning, I woke up early and go work left them a sleep only to get call later in the day seh mi daughter get shot and up a hospital," he said.
On the fateful day, Grant was reportedly at home washing upstairs while Kela, two of her brothers and the 14-year-old were downstairs playing.
Grant and other family members heard a loud explosion and hurried downstairs to find Kela covered in blood while the teen dashed out the yard.
He was apprehended by the police following the fatal incident. The gun, however, remains missing.