'He was a supreme talent'

Community hails slain 12-year-old's sporting abilities

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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DUJON DaCosta was killed before he could take up a scholarship at Excelsior High School where his football skills were in demand.

The 12-year-old sixth grade student at Tavares Gardens Primary School was slain by gunmen on Payne Avenue, a tough community off Spanish Town Road, on Saturday.

The constabulary's Corporate Communication Unit reported that Dujon was among a group of people standing on the road around 7:45 pm when gunmen opened fire. When the mayhem was over, the residents found that Dujon's mother, his grandaunt, and a man were shot. They were taken to hospital where Dujon succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment.

While the police did not put forward any possible motives for the attack, the Jamaica Observer has learnt that there is a gang feud in the community.

News of the boy's demise threw the community into shock.

Dujon's physical education teacher and coach Steven Brown, who last saw him on Friday after a cricket match at St Patrick's Primary School in Waterhouse, said when he heard the news on Sunday morning he was in disbelief.

“I was watching the women's football world cup; I broke down in tears. I could not continue watching the match. I made a number of calls to confirm. Is like I am in a dream; I don't believe,” Brown said.

“He was a supreme talent,” Brown said, noting that Dujon was captain of the football team and vice-captain of the cricket team. He was also a member of the basketball team which advanced to the semi-finals of the competition following their win against St Patrick's Primary 'A' team yesterday.

Brown said the students are overcome with grief but are hoping that they will win the competition in Dujon's honour.

Like Brown, Excelsior High School's Under-14 football coach Omar Stanley was impressed with Dujon's talents.

Stanley told the Observer yesterday that he last spoke to the boy on Thursday when he instructed him to take certain documents to a football training session scheduled for Saturday morning. Dujon did show up, but the session had to be aborted on account of what Stanely said was an emergency seminar for the football coaching staff at the Jamaica Football Federation that morning.

Stanley said he was at Medical Associates Hospital with his own mother when coach Brown informed him about the tragedy.

“I started crying, and that is something I don't normally do,” he said, adding that Dujon had been training at Excelsior on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for just over a month.

According to Terian Nisbeth, principal of Tavares Garden Primary School, the all-rounder had been destined for greatness.

“Dujon was very well-rounded sports wise. He was academically inclined, and he was doing well with basketball, football, rugby, and even cricket. He was respectful and quiet. If you wanted to find him you would have to search well to find him in a crowd. He will be missed,” she told the Observer.

In an effort to help the school family cope with the boy's passing, Nisbeth said representatives from Encounter Ministries International, a faith-based organisation that works closely with the school, led worship sessions at the institution yesterday. The school has also been getting support from the Ministry of Education, the resident guidance counsellor, and counsellors from nearby schools, she said.

“Every child is precious, and we were looking forward to Dujon taking up the scholarship opportunity that was given to him,” Nisbeth said.

Yesterday when the Observer visited Payne Land, Dujon's grandmother, Angela Ringrose, was seen crying uncontrollably in the arms of Councillor Audrey Smith-Facey (PNP, Payne Land Division).

“Him nuh get fi get him scholarship,” Ringrose cried before removing a neon green shirt from her head. She said the shirt was the last piece of clothing her grandson had worn.

“A it mi a tie on my head from Saturday night,” Ringrose sobbed.

The distraught grandmother told the newspaper that she would miss her morning routine with him.

“Him go Excelsior Saturday morning for training. A me give him bus fare fi go a training. Him sleep wid mi every night. A me wake him up a morning time fi him go a school. A who me a go wake up now fi go school a mawning time?” she asked in tears.

Ringrose said she'd never imagined her first grandchild's shirtless body would be lying on the road with gunshot wounds.

“On Saturday, I sent Dujon to buy a food because I was tidying up the church and sometime after that I saw him eating the food and I didn't know that would be the last time I'd give Dujon something to eat,” she said.

“If you are doing anything, you could expect Dujon to get involved. If you put down two pieces of board, him woulda mek bench with it. If you mixing cement, is Dujon. Everything him try to get involved in,” she continued, describing some of her grandson's traits.

Dujon was expected to be part of the Tavares Gardens school-leaving ceremony on Friday.


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