By Romila Boodram
Looking at a video of a man pointing a gun at any of your loved ones can be heartbreaking, but to witness on surveillance camera your mother being killed is an unforgettable memory. It is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
While some may prefer not to look at such video, the children of Debra Blackman chose to view the terrifying Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) recording of their mother being executed just to get a glimpse at her executioner.
They wanted to know who would do such a thing to a powerless female – a woman, who was only trying to earn a daily bread to maintain herself and her family.
For Latoya Blackman, one of the woman’s daughters, that recording is still fresh in her mind. She says that at any time in the day she can just close her eyes and see a man walking up to her mother and opening fire at her.
Debra Blackman was gunned down in the restaurant where she worked as a waitress in D’Urban Street, Wortmanville, some time around 20:00 hrs on August 23, last.
Although images of her shooter and his accomplices have been released, no one has been arrested.
The woman’s daughter said that the video clearly shows a young man wearing a black and red cap fire a gun between the bars of the counter where her mother stood. The first bullet strikes Debra Blackman on her shoulder.
Wounded and terrified, the 48-year-old woman runs towards a door further into the restaurant but collapses.
The nervous-looking gunman then shifts his position to get a better view of his target. He fires again… and again. A bullet pierces the waitress’ throat, and she slumps to the ground.
The gunman and his three accomplices then calmly leave.
“At first, everything seemed normal in the video. It showed my mom taking the money and she put in the order, after which she waited on the order to finish. When it finished, she packed the food, and just as she was going to ask the guy if he wants pepper and ketchup, he shot her,” the daughter said.
She added that if her mother had paid a little attention to the men’s movement in the restaurant, she would have figured out something was definitely wrong.
“The men looked really nervous. They were walking back and forth, but my mom was busy with the order, so she didn’t pay much attention to them.”
The 23-year-old said that when she received the news of her mother’s death she was at home with another sibling.
“It was a Saturday and normally we don’t cook; my mom would send food for us…so we were waiting on my stepfather to bring the food when a girl next door come over and tell us that my mom was shot.”
According to Latoya Blackman, she and her sister immediately rushed to the scene where they saw their mother’s body in a pool of blood.
“That was the hardest thing to look at… When I saw my mom’s body that night, it was like I was in another world, where it was just me and the body. I didn’t even know what to do next or what to say,” the young lady recalled.
She added that on the 23rd of every month, she as well as other family members would take flowers to Berbice, where their mother was buried.
And, according to the daughter, her mom would have celebrated her 49th birthday on January 23.
“It is not easy to live without a mother. Every night around 20:00 hrs, we are accustomed hearing mommy calling for us to open the door, and now there is nothing,” Latoya Blackman said.
She added, “One night, a few days after she was killed, I heard her calling for us to open the door, and I shouted and told her I was coming. I actually opened the door and there was no mommy, but I guess it is because I am so accustomed to hearing her voice at that time.”
While Blackman is convinced that her mother was indeed the gunman’s target, she is baffled as to who would do such a thing to her.
“My mother had no (known) enemies. She was nice to everyone. When people go into the restaurant, she smiled with all of them,” the dead woman’s daughter reflected.
She added, “We have been waiting patiently on the police to find our mommy’s killer, but they haven’t found anyone as yet, although they have images from surveillance cameras.”
Days after the shooting, investigators released a photograph of the shooter in an effort to get the public’s assistance, but they have failed to charge anyone to date.
“I heard, also, that my mom’s shooter was the one who robbed Popeyes,” Latoya Blackman said.
Debra Blackman had worked at the restaurant for 14 years.
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