The family of Deodat ‘Popcorn’ Seecharran, 21, of Adelphi, East Canje, Berbice who was killed during a shoot-out with police had pleaded with him to change his life.
The family members who requested that their names not be used admitted that he was wrong and said they never agreed with what he did. They were sad that he met his demise before he had a chance to become a better person.
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, Seecharran’s mother said the police called around 11 am on
Monday and asked them to go to the mortuary to identify his body and to give statements.
In tears, she said her son’s face was completely damaged and that she recognised him from the scar on his chest.
She said that because of the life he lived, he stayed away from her and the rest of the family. Early last year was the last time she saw or heard from him. She said she was worried about his well-being and prayed for him and asked family members to pray too.
The woman said her son was slim but when she identified his body, she was shocked to see that he had put on weight.
At the time of the shooting around 11.30 pm on Sunday, police were responding to a report that Seecharran and another man were seen on bicycles in the area.
According to the source, the police “challenged them to stop,” but instead they opened fire on the ranks. They then dropped their bicycles and started running through a track with the police officers in hot pursuit.
Seecharran, who was hit to his head and left shoulder, collapsed to the ground. He was picked up and taken to the New Amsterdam Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His accomplice managed to elude capture.
Police recovered a haversack that contained ten .32 rounds, a stocking mask, camouflage pants along with the two bicycles. The bag also contained other items including pliers, screwdrivers, mosquito repellent and footwear.
Police had received information around 10.30 pm that two strange men were seen in the compound of the mandir. They checked and found three cell phones charging but did not see anyone.
A senior police officer in Berbice said they are currently checking the phones and have found useful information.
He said they are aware of the identity of Seecharran’s accomplice and are confident that they would find him. The officer said too that the men were “part of a criminal empire.”
A sister-in-law said Seecharran was still very young and “deserved an opportunity to change his life.”
She criticized the police for “blowing his brains” and said they “could have shot him in the foot… And take him to a correctional facility…”
She repeated that he was wrong to be involved in such a life, but said “they [the police] focused on burying him and not reforming him.”
Because of his age, she said “he was like a sponge and he sopped up the negative influence around him.”
According to her, “He is just another example of the pressure the youths face in this country. Like every child, he had his troubles. Some youths turn to poison to end their troubles, he turned to the guns.”
His older sister who was also present during the interview said they “never condoned what he did. No mother would raise her child to do wrong things.”
According to his mother, who was constantly breaking down in tears, her son grew up knowing the struggles she went through to raise him, his sister and an older brother.
His father died before he was born and she had to quit her job as a nurse at the New Amsterdam Hospital to be there for her children. She recalled that she sold “fish, greens and clothes… I worked in backdam as a weeder too to get money.”
According to her, Seecharran was a very good and kind person and was fondly known by all as “Little Boy.”
Trying to figure out how he turned to a life of crime, the woman surmised that it was because she “couldn’t give him money in abundance and his friends gave him or they showed him how to get it.”
She said he was living with her at her home at Adelphi, Canje and she never tolerated any of his friends if she noticed they were not right for him.
“He never used to bring company at my house because I used to quarrel bad… So maybe he used to go out and meet these friends because I don’t know them,” she said.
Emphasising his kindness, his sister-in-law said she heard that his accomplice had become entangled in a fence and Seecharran had turned back to help him when he was killed.
His mother recalled that he had a lot of talents and loved to write his own songs. He even went to the studio two years ago to have one of his songs recorded. “The song was about ‘put down the guns’ and now he get involved with gun,” she lamented, Seecharran attended the Rose Hall Primary School in Canje and then a secondary school in New Amsterdam. He dropped out in fourth form at the age of 14 because his mother could not afford to send him.
He started working with a joiner, then at a sawmill before seeking employment with a gutter smith and then a mason.
He also started his own business, making concrete blocks to sell and had supplied all of the blocks to build his sister’s house. His mother said he had ambitions and could have done well in life had he not followed the wrong company.
She said even after he was jailed she “still had hopes that he would have been a changed boy.” She said he never smoked or consumed alcohol.
When she took food to him at the prison, she said, she would talk to him about changing his life.
“Me always tell him that when he come out he must never have the cause again to go back to a place like that again,” she told Stabroek News in tears.
“Me had to take food for him; me shame but me had to take out pride. Ah meh pickney. Me nah agree wid nothing wrong wah he do,” she wept.
His sister-in-law concluded the interview by quoting a verse from the Bible: “When God said the ‘wages of sin is death,’ we should take heed.”
Explaining the verse, she said, “Don’t [do] sin and expect not to face the consequences. But it’s sad that ‘Little Boy’ had to face it in that manner.”