Grief: Jason Smith is pictured left with his mother Jacqueline and father Michael. Mrs Smith described him as a “good son” who was “always smiling”. *Photo supplied
Grief: Jason Smith is pictured left with his mother Jacqueline and father Michael. Mrs Smith described him as a “good son” who was “always smiling”. *Photo supplied
1
2
WEDNESDAY, MAY 4: The grieving sister of murder victim Jason Smith yesterday made the heart-rending journey home from the US for her brother’s funeral.

Kristina Crosbie said: “The news was devastating. It’s just tragic.

“But no one is immune when it comes to gangs. There is no conscience there.

“But I pray for them and I pray for justice.

“I fully believe that justice will be served — I don’t doubt that at all.”

Ms Crosbie, 43, added: “Jason was the baby. He was just a good kid. He never got in any trouble. My girls loved him.”

Her three daughters accompanied her back to Bermuda yesterday afternoon.

“They said that Jason was their older brother — he played soccer and basketball with them. He will be sadly missed,” she said.

Ms Crosbie — who was told by phone on Sunday morning that her brother had been murdered — travelled from Highlands, North Carolina, where she owns a restaurant and catering business.

The funeral service for Mr Smith, 22, will be held on Saturday at the First Church of God on North Shore Road, Pembroke.

He was gunned down in the early hours of Sunday as he left the home of a friend in Pembroke to return home to Warwick.

Mistaken identity

Police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

Ms Crosbie, who has lived in the US since she was a student in Atlanta, said: “I keep asking my friends here where these gangs have come from.

“You don’t put Bermuda and gangs in the same sentence — or didn’t.

“It seems to me that in the last 10 years, as the economy started to go wrong, that’s when people got negative and started the violence.

“I’m not advocating violence or guns, but the police are here to serve and protect. At the moment, it seems the criminals have the guns.”

A steady stream of visitors called at the family’s home yesterday to offer condolences to Jason’s father Michael and mother Jacqueline.

Mrs Smith said her son’s murder “hadn’t really sunk in yet” but that she was sustained by her own and his Christian faith.

She added: “It’s only natural that you feel very, very sad. We had a good son and I was very proud of him. He was always smiling and made a huge impact on people’s lives.

“I know the police are working on this — I trust them to do their job and I have faith that they will do all they can.

“It’s up to all of us to help them. That could have been anyone’s son — it could have happened to anyone.”

Regiment Sergeant Major Rupert Lambert, who was Jason’s company Sergeant Major in the Bermuda Regiment, said: “He was a good soldier.

“He was a pretty cool guy. He wasn’t loud or outspoken — he was quiet but always smiling. A picture of him paints a thousand words.

“Jason was a keen sportsman and he was always involved in any sports in the Regiment.

“He will certainly be missed. The younger guys certainly respected him and listened to him.

“He definitely would have had a bright future with the Regiment. He was someone we would have wanted to keep.”

Ms Smith studied computer science in Canada before returning to Bermuda to take a break from his studies and do his stint in the Regiment.

He was shot at least twice as he left a house at the junction of Overview Hill and North Shore Road, Pembroke. His death marks the fifth shooting fatality of 2011.

Frightening

The Bermuda Regiment Lance Corporal and keen PHC soccer player had been at the home of the son of a former senior police officer.

The two had been out with friends from their days at Saltus Grammar School.

One neighbour said she was awoken by the sound of two gunshots just before 4am. She said: “Somebody just screamed and then it all went quiet after that.

“The police were there right after that — I didn’t hear sirens but I saw a lot of flashing lights.

“It’s strange — I know nothing about guns, but when you hear a gunshot, you know what it is.

“It’s very frightening that this kind of thing can happen at the bottom of your own hill.”

Police Assistant Commissioner David Mirfield said: “The Bermuda Police Service has launched an investigation into this deplorable act. Initial inquiries suggest that this victim may not have been the intended target.”

Anyone with information should contact the Serious Crime Unit on 295-0011 or CrimeStoppers on 800-8477.