Vigil held for murder victims

  • Family in mourning: Natasha Simmons, cousin of murder victim Danshun Swann, in front of the cross placed in his memory (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Taking its toll: Danshun Swann’s aunt, Luchia Swann, left, is comforted by Nicole Fox, mother of 2013 murder victim Ricco Furbert (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The aunt of Danshun Swann, who was stabbed to death in a brawl outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club this week, has said she finds it hard to see an end to the violence in Bermuda.

She was speaking at a candlelit vigil last night, the second in a week, held in memory of those who have lost their lives to gun and gang violence.

Luchia Swann said that while the event uniting the families and loved ones brought her comfort, she said she hoped people would help the authorities bring an end to the killing.

She told The Royal Gazette: “I don’t see this ending any time soon. It is not just one person that has done this, there are many, and it goes back years. I hope that events like this encourage people to genuinely not be afraid to speak up; if you know something, say something.

“This is devastating and it is unnecessary devastation. There was no need for any of them to go through what they went through.”

Ms Swann added that she felt overwhelmed, not only by her nephew’s death, but by the names of others on crosses.

“I knew so many of these people,” she said. “I went to primary school and high school with this young man, Kumi Hartford. Shane Minors was in my class in high school; he was very special to me.”

Tim Augustus, 32, said he knew most of the men whose names were on the crosses.

“You know how small Bermuda is, I know most of them — there are friends, cousins — I’ve stopped keeping track,” he said.

Mr Augustus said that while there was violence when he was growing up, the culture had changed.

“I have no idea what the youths are going through now. I know what it was like for me, but they are coming up in a different era and we need different methods.

“This is all new. The culture has changed and this is what is popular now. I do see an end to it, but it takes leadership. We have people trying to do the right thing, but it also takes each individual.”

Kennisha Francis lost her nephew Jahcari Francis to gun violence last year.

Asked what she thought of the event, she replied: “It means everything. For people not to be home and struggling by themselves. At least you can see them, give them a hug; you don’t have to say much as we understand the very unfortunate reality of it.”

Nicole Fox, who lost her son Ricco Furbert five years ago in a shooting, said: “The young men really need to see this. They need to see the effect that it has on everyone and everything and to see how many people we have lost.”