Victims’ mothers united by faith and grief
Two mothers who live next to each other were mourning their murdered sons yesterday, united by their faith and their grief.
Marilyn Outerbridge, mother of shooting victim Haile Outerbridge, 34, is a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
After a steady stream of visitors to her home yesterday — including the Premier and other Government officials — she said: “It’s not enough for you to come to my house and console me. What mother could be consoled? How could you be consoled? The only way we can be consoled is to catch the people who are doing these things.”
Meanwhile Nicole Fox, mother of Ricco Furbert, 25, who was gunned down next to his close friend and neighbour Mr Outerbridge said: “Last night was like I was in a movie. I just wanted to wake up. Today I feel a little bit more at ease. I know he’s OK. I have a lot of faith — I’m a Christian.”
Mrs Fox described her son as a “quiet, easy-going and well-mannered” person. She last saw him on Tuesday outside the family homestead on Happy Valley Lane, Pembroke, close to the neighbourhood store where he and Mr Outerbridge were killed the following night.
“I saw him in the yard and he came up to my house. We were just talking. He always said ‘I love you’,” explained Mrs Fox.
She does not know how her son and Mr Outerbridge came to be in the Belvin’s Variety store together when they were shot — she thought her son was supposed to be meeting his father Charles Riley there.
She was at home when Mr Riley called to tell her their son had been shot. She rushed to the hospital, where she was told he was dead.
Mrs Fox explained that she and her son suffered multiple bereavements in a short space of time, which served to make her faith stronger.
Her brother, Ryan Furbert, 42, died three years ago in a bike crash on Frog Lane, Devonshire. She lost her father a few years prior. In 2011, she lost her mother and in 2009, a cousin, Garry (Fingas) Cann was shot dead aged 22 in Somerset. Her son’s best friends were Ryan Burgess, who died in a bike crash in February 2008, and Stefan Burgess, shot dead at a residence on The Glebe Road in January 2012.
“Now I am burying my firstborn,” she said.
Mr Furbert leaves a total of five brothers to mourn him. They are Tyler Wilkinson, 30, Travis Wilkinson, 31, Clark Fox and Skyah Furbert, both 21 and Zackary Fox, 14. He also has two sisters; Tennille Wilkinson, 35, and Toya Wilkinson-Raynor, 26.
He grew up in Cox’s Hill, Pembroke, and moved to Happy Valley Lane when he was in his teens. He attended West Pembroke, Dellwood and CedarBridge Academy schools before leaving at 16. His most recent job was refurbishing bathrooms.
Mr Furbert was a champion sprinter at school and excelled at football. He supported Dandy Town and Chelsea FC and played as a striker for Dandy Town in his younger days.
The police labelled the double murder as a gang-related crime. Asked if her son was in a gang, Mrs Fox replied: “He worked hard at trying to get his life on track. He was not a known gang member, but with the location where he lived, he was always going to be a victim. Everyone in the area’s a target. I believe he knew that he could be a target. Certain places, he just couldn’t go. I thought about him leaving the Island but I really didn’t feel Ricco was at threat.”
She added: “I have two younger boys who are hurting very much and I will do whatever it takes to protect them from the gun violence.”
During an emotionally-charged speech to the press at her home yesterday, Mrs Outerbridge, 61, said her faith as a member of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pembroke, is keeping her strong.
“This situation is not just my situation — it’s all of Bermuda’s situation. We all have a responsibility to our country and to our countrymen. So if you think I’m here grieving for my son, you have got it wrong. I’m grieving for all of our children everywhere — every last one of them,” she said.
She added: “They are hurt, and hurt people hurt other people. They are our children, and if we don’t do something about it, then we will continue to suffer.”
Asked why she felt people were hurting, Mrs Outerbridge replied: “Look at the state of our country. If a man can’t feed his children, it’s the most degrading thing for a young man to go through. If people can see families suffering and don’t give them a handout, what do you expect? If the family is in turmoil, what do you expect?”
Mr Outerbridge’s late father, Gladwin Outerbridge, was a leading member of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church. According to Mrs Outerbridge, Haile was raised as a Christian and went to church. He is father to eight-year-old Hazajae and leaves two sisters and three brothers. He worked as a truck driver and coached the Boulevard Blazers football team.
Mr Outerbridge was also known as a producer of “conscious music,” having released CDs and performed at venues including Chewstick under the stage name Star Child.
“Haile is where the Father wants him to be — at rest, and he’s left a legacy. If you want to know what kind of man he is, listen to the lyrics of his songs,” said his mother.