Father hopes he may get to see his dead son’s children
Murder victim David Clarke Jr could be the dad of twins he never got to meet.
His father David Clarke Sr told
The Royal Gazette his eldest son introduced him to a female friend a few months before he was shot dead and said she was expecting his twins.
Mr Clarke Sr, a diesel technician at Bermuda Motors, would love to meet and spend time with his grandchildren but doesn’t have contact details for their mother, a nurse whom he believes lives in New York.
“He had a couple of girlfriends and he had this girl in particular. She’s American, he told me that. I think he met her here.
“Since that [the murder] happened, I haven’t heard from the girl and I haven’t seen her. I would still like to see her. Everything happened so fast.”
Mr Clarke Sr explained his fashion-conscious son, a Bermuda College computer technology graduate, had launched his own business importing clothes from the States.
The 26-year-old spent several months in the US shortly before he was killed but his father is not sure if he was still with the twins’ mother or if he got to meet his babies.
“He’d go to New York, back and forth. He wanted to be an entrepreneur. He had great potential.
“When he was in New York, I took my wife on our 30th wedding anniversary. I spoke to him, I said ‘are you going to see your kids?’ He just laughed. I said ‘if you need any help, just tell me, Dave’. I love kids, that’s me. I was really anxious to see my grandkids.”
Mr Clarke Sr, who does not remember the mother’s name, believes the twins were due to be born in spring this year.
“If she was in Bermuda, I would have known, but she left and went away. I think if he did see them, he would have told me. I don’t think he did get a chance to see them. He would have made an excellent dad.”
The 57-year-old said though his son was private about his personal life, the two were close and would work together on projects.
On Sunday, April 17, the pair fixed a car radio at the family home on Friswells Road, Devonshire, before David Jr went out to meet some friends at 7pm.
His father rubbed the top of his head as he left, telling him he loved him. “He said ‘cool, Pops,’” recalled Mr Clarke Sr.
He and his wife Angela, who moved to Bermuda from Barbados with their family two decades ago, went for their usual Sunday evening drive but returned home to find their youngest son waiting with terrible news.
“My son D’Angelo approached me and told me what had happened. I still didn’t believe it. I said ‘you are joking, you are kidding’.”
Mr Clarke Jr had been shot by two assailants on a motorcycle who rode up alongside his bike as he made his way home from the Mid Atlantic Boat Club. He died close to his rented apartment on North Shore Road at about 10.20pm.
“I went there and it was already too late,” said his father. “It’s the worst nightmare, the worst thing that could ever happen.”
More than six months on, he is still grieving and struggling to make sense of the shooting.
“He was a loving person, always laughing, always a very big smile.
“[He was] friendly with everybody, no enemies and always willing to help anybody.
“It’s not easy, to be quite honest, especially between me and my wife. She’s back home [in Barbados]. I’m not sure when she’ll be coming back. We never experience something like that. That day will just do anything to a person.”
One of the hardest things to deal with, he said, is the fact his son’s killers remain at large, despite the efforts of police to track them down.
“They don’t have any heart,” said Mr Clarke Sr. “I don’t know how people can do these things and just live with themselves.”
He believes there are people with information about the murder who are staying silent to protect those responsible.
“They [police] told me, right now there is no one who is coming forward. People in Bermuda ... they know a lot but they are not willing to help anyone else: ‘so long as it’s not my child, I don’t give a hoot’.
“There’s a lot of things that happen here that people, they know it’s happening, but they will not say ‘enough is enough’ or ‘it’s time to stop’, unless it happens to them.”
He has forgiven those who murdered his son but hopes when they are caught they’ll be punished appropriately.
“I’m not a violent person. I don’t believe in capital punishment. But I think the punishment here is a little too easy.
“The punishment is not harsh because you are getting three square meals every day, you are getting this, getting that. I think you need to work for everything.”
He said he wants police to have a watertight case before anyone is charged with killing his son, having watched previous gun cases fail to result in a conviction.
While the family waits for some resolution, Mr Clarke Sr is trying to stay strong for D’Angelo, 21; daughter Janelle, 30, a lawyer in Barbados; and his wife.
The four of them will visit Cuba for a family vacation after Christmas and “Dave will still be a part of it,” according to his father. “I still talk to Dave,” he said. “I say ‘this year, Dave, I’m going to pay for everybody’.”
For now, Mr Clarke Sr takes comfort in the hope he’ll get to meet his son’s children one day.
“I would love to. I just pray every night that just out of the clear blue sky something will pop up but things don’t always come through that we ask for.”
l If you are able to put Mr Clarke Sr in touch with the mother of his grandchildren, please call 278-0155 or e-mail sstrangeways[AT]royalgazette.bm.