Independent MP Crockwell found dead at home

  • Police statement

  • Shawn Crockwell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Shawn Crockwell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Police officers are seen outside Shawn Crockwell's home in Hamilton Parish

    Police officers are seen outside Shawn Crockwell's home in Hamilton Parish

  • Police officers are seen outside Mr Crockwell's home

    Police officers are seen outside Mr Crockwell's home

Independent MP Shawn Crockwell has been found dead at his home. A Police spokesman confirmed the lawyer’s death at 7pm, adding that “foul play was not suspected.”

No other details have been revealed.

Fellow MPs Mark Pettingill and Wayne Furbert were seen outside Mr Crockwell’s Hamilton Parish home earlier in the evening.

A police spokesman said: “Mr Crockwell was found in an unresponsive state at a Hamilton Parish residence around 4pm today.

“He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene by the attending doctor.

“Initial inquiries suggest that foul play is not suspected.”

A full inquiry regarding the MP’s death is now under way, and a Family Liaison Officer has been appointed to offer support, said the spokesman.

Mr Crockwell, the former tourism minister, cited a loss of confidence in the One Bermuda Alliance under Michael Dunkley when he quit Cabinet in March 2016. He would later leave the party in July of last year.

Mr Crockwell was head of the litigation department at Chancery Legal, practising in all areas of civil and criminal litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, he was behind legislation for the Casino Gaming Act 2014 and the Bermuda Tourism Authority Act 2014.

He was Called to the Bar in 2009, and was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.

Mr Dunkley said he was informed late this afternoon of Mr Crockwell’s death.

“It is devastating, shocking news, and it hurts,” said the Premier.

“On behalf of colleagues in the One Bermuda Alliance and the people of Bermuda, I extend deepest condolences to Shawn’s family — his children, his brother and sister, his mother and father, of whom he was so proud and inspired by. I can’t imagine the trauma they are going through right now.

“Despite our recent political differences, Shawn remained my good friend. Together we watched our beloved Dallas Cowboys, talked Premier League football and had laughs. He was one of the brightest, most talented people I’ve had the pleasure to know.

“No one overcame his personal difficulties with more flair and accomplishment than Shawn, completing his law degree in prison and emerging to be an effective advocate for people.

“In the floor of the House of Assembly, he was a gifted and compelling speaker — smart, logical and passionate, always interesting. When Shawn spoke, the Chamber listened.

“As a Government Minister, he was effective, getting things done, and he brought razor sharp intelligence to the Cabinet table.

“This is a tragedy that is incomprehensible to me. Shawn was a Bermudian success story, full of promise and possibilities. I will miss him.”

OBA Chair Lynne Woolridge said: “It is with a profound sense of shock and sadness that we learnt today of the death of our colleague, Shawn Crockwell.

“Shawn’s enthusiasm, passion and dedication to serving the people of Bermuda was unquestioned.

“Shawn will be missed, but his legacy and his work to uplift all Bermudians will live on. As a mark of respect, and as we come to terms with this tragic loss, the OBA will be suspending election campaigning until further notice.

“On behalf of the people of Bermuda I offer my sincere condolences to his family, associates and friends.”

In a statement released this evening, Opposition leader David Burt said: “The members of the Progressive Labour Party are stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of one of Bermuda’s honourable sons, Shawn Crockwell.

“Shawn was a rare man of conviction and courage; when communing with him, you could clearly see that God granted Shawn the courage to promote, defend, and pursue his convictions regardless of the favour or foul of any observer.

“I believe Shawn’s life was a testament to the heights that can be attained if one strives to overcome formidable obstacles.

“Many have convictions, fewer have the required courage to stick to them, and fewer still use those gifts to serve their fellow man. Shawn Crockwell did so both in his vocation and his profession and those he served will no doubt miss his counsel and compassion.

“Out of respect for Shawn’s sincere and meaningful contribution to the political discourse in our beloved country, the PLP will be suspending all campaign activities and advertising for a period of 48 hours.

“We extend our most heartfelt condolences to Shawn’s family and loved ones during this time. Bermuda will be all the poorer for your loss.”

Close friend Alan Dunch said he was “tremendously shocked and saddened” by news of Mr Crockwell’s death.

Mr Dunch, a lawyer at MJM, said his relationship with Mr Crockwell dated back to the latter’s days as a Supreme Court clerk. He said the two had been professional colleagues and friends for the last decade.

“I considered Shawn a good friend,” Mr Dunch said this evening.

He described Mr Crockwell as a very dedicated and loving family man, particularly to his daughter.

“I have very fond memories of her coming to the office and visiting with him, and visiting me,” Mr Dunch said.

“It’s a tremendous loss for her, and for the family.”

Professionally, Mr Crockwell was a very good lawyer, added Mr Dunch. “He and I worked closely, side by side, and I had tremendous respect for his legal ability.”

Mr Dunch said that he would remember Mr Crockwell most for his determination to put his past behind him and pursue the career path he had wanted to chart from a young age.

“The community at large has lost someone who made every effort to contribute in as meaningful a way as he could,” he said.

Mr Crockwell’s fellow lawyer Charles Richardson said: “Despite being on opposite political teams, we began this journey together.

“I have seen him at his best and his worst and I vouch for him as one of the most sincere persons I have known.”

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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