Murder victim was ‘genuinely a nice human being’, says mentor
The “mentor” to a young man whose life was cut short in a shooting has called on the community to “walk the walk” and invest in its young people.
“Bermuda has lost a unique individual who had so many talents,” said Reeshemah Darrell, who was helping Keni Outerbridge, 20, from Sandys, to obtain his GED.
Mr Outerbridge was shot dead on the night of December 6 as he socialised with friends at Tribe Road No 5 in Paget.
Ms Darrell had forged a close relationship with Mr Outerbridge as the educational therapist assistant during his time at Sandys Secondary Middle school.
“I am devastated — even though he had left the educational system we continued with our bond,” she said.
“He was more than a mentee to me. He was just like one of my own. He would come to visit me just to check up. He was genuinely a nice human being.
“I am really heartbroken to know he is no longer here.”
Ms Darrell added: “We tend to focus on the wrong. We tend to tell children what they can’t do or should not do, but actually we need to invest in them. That’s what Bermuda needs to do.”
She said Mr Outerbridge, whom friends knew as Loppi, struggled with academia but was gifted with a strong work ethic and hands-on practical skills.
Five years ago, Keni threw himself into working with the America's Cup SoftBank Team Japan.
Ms Darrell said the team was “devastated, just as I am”.
“No words can explain the way I am feeling. This has hit me to my core.”
She described building a close relationship as she worked with Keni as a student.
“With Keni, I could have asked him anything. Knowing you were invested in him and his wellbeing, he would do anything for you.”
Although the young man started volunteering with the Softbank team a couple of days a week, he began helping out after hours without pay.
“Outside of school, we built a rapport,” Ms Darrell said. “I would check up with him on a regular basis and his mother, because I focus on the whole wellbeing of students, not just certain parts. You have to look at the bigger picture.”
She said Mr Outerbridge made a point of asking how she was feeling, and how her children were doing.
“There was a heartfelt, genuine kindness within him, especially when he had that genuine rapport with you.
“We were working on getting him his GED. I was working with his parents and, knowing his mother and grandmother, they were awesome people to work with.
“They were very supportive of everything I recommended. They wanted to get him involved in positive things, sharing his unique talents.”
She helped Mr Outerbridge to keep his work up to date.
Ms Darrell said the tragedy of his murder was an opportunity for the community to “stop and think”.
“We do not sometimes invest in our own,” she said. “We are ready to criticise. Are we willing to take that energy and put it into investing?”
She added: “I am going to continue with the family, continuing with the legacy of what he brought.
“We do have talent in Bermuda — we just have to invest.”
Anyone with any information about the killing is asked to contact lead investigator Acting Detective Sergeant Odessa Philip on 717-2193. Calls can also be made to the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.