‘As long as this case is open, I have tears in my eyes’
Maxzine Puckerin doesn't hesitate for a second when asked if she wants to see her son's killers caught and brought before the courts.
“Yes, it would really make me feel better,” she says. “If they caught the person, I would feel much better. It would make me feel, 'okay, my son is at peace now and I don't have to look over my shoulder and wonder whatever happened to him'. I would feel justice has been served.”
Maxine's son Perry Puckerin was gunned down, aged 34, at Hamilton Parish Workman's Club on January 3, 2010.
The shooter crept into the club premises via Radnor Estate Road and fled the same way, after firing a bullet into Perry's chest at close-range.
The gun murder was the fourth in the space of a month and one of 12 cases since May 2009 that police have yet to solve.
The person who shot Perry has not been caught and detectives say there seems to have been no real motive for the killing, other than an ongoing feud between the Pembroke gangs Parkside and 42.
Maxzine, 57, says she often thinks about the culprit and about those protecting him from the authorities.
“I just don't know how they sleep or when they go to sleep how they feel,” she says. “That would weigh on my mind. If I knew, I would come forward. I would make sure that person got punished.”
She says if she could appeal directly to those with crucial knowledge, she'd say: “Let me go on with my life with peace in my heart. As long as this case is open, I have my tears.”
She adds: “I just have to hope and pray that they do find the person, whoever shot Perry. It was callous. No one's lives need to be taken by gun violence, for whatever reason it was. Whoever did what they done, they don't have the right.”
It's been almost 18 months since her eldest son died but mother-of-three Maxzine is no closer to knowing why he was targeted.
Police say he was a member of 42, along with fellow murder victims Kenwandee Robinson and Kumi Harford, but it's a claim she dismisses.
“I couldn't understand the purpose of them shooting them in the first place. I could understand it if they were into gang violence and stealing and out there doing attacks on people.
“They just hung on the street and done what they done. Perry really didn't interfere with anybody. Like Kenwandee Robinson, he was easy-going.”
She says the three friends grew up together and were very close. Kenwandee used to call her “auntie” and she recalls seeing him on the day he was shot and, for once, not inviting him inside for a chat.
“I was so furious with myself,” she says. “That day I just went in the house. Next thing I knew, someone said he got shot.”
Maxzine insists hanging out with pals on the street where you grew up is “not the definition of being in a gang” and says any comparison between her son and his friends and gangs in America, such as the Bloods and the Crips, is ludicrous.
“A gang member is somebody who goes around and has a gun. They are caught up in everything.”
She and the mothers of the other two murder victims live within a stone's throw from one another in the St Monica's Road area.
They talk often about their late sons and the gun violence which has blighted their neighbourhood. She says they wonder: “When are we going to be able to put it behind us?”
Maxzine says police and others may see the area as gang territory but it's a close-knit community which has had its heart ripped out.
“We were all connected in some way. My children came up there. It might not be the best place to bring your children up but at the end of the day you can't choose where you are going to live.
“I have lived up there since Perry was two years old. We moved and my brother-in-law gave us the house. We have been there ever since. My other two children grew up there.”
Her grief, she says, is compounded by concerns about Perry's children: daughter Kerry, ten, and teenage son Lejaun.
“It's not about me I'm his mother,” she says. “It's about his children. They don't have a father no more. I have stepped up to the plate to be more of a father to my granddaughter. She's only ten years old. It's hard on her.”
The murder of Perry has irrevocably changed the lives of those who loved him. Maxzine's youngest son now lives abroad and her middle son divides his time between the Island and overseas.
She says she looks at a photograph of her eldest son each day on her desk at work. On the one hand, she thinks: “God's got him under his wing. I haven't got to worry about him no more.”
But on the other hand: “I'm always just looking at him, trying to figure out why would this person take his life.”
The answer, she knows, must come from those brave enough to speak up and contact police.
“I believe in God and I feel that, for some reason, every murder one day will be resolved. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but it will come a day when we'll find out exactly who is doing all these shootings and why they do them.”
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