Mother pressing for inquiry into police killing of son in March

Sheila Solomon is calling for an inquiry into the death of her son who was gunned down by the police and who she believes was innocent of any wrong-doing.

Solomon’s son Kevin Dillon was shot dead on March 1. Police had said that Dillon had exited a car and opened fire on them, to which they retaliated and that they had subsequently recovered a gun and ammunition from his person. However, other persons had told Solomon that her son was walking along the road when the police shot him in the leg. According to the eyewitnesses, the police then stood over him after he fell and shot him in the head.

Solomon has since spoken to President Bharrat Jagdeo and more recently to Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee pressing for an investigation. Until that happens, she is coping in the way she knows best: with prayers and keeping her faith.
“There are days I sit and ask why Kevin, why him? Why my son who had no prior police record, no trouble with law and who… [had] so much promise? And I have asked the police this many times only to be told a story about how he was on a robbery and had a gun,” Solomon said.

Solomon spoke in a hushed tone, her voice breaking every few minutes. She said an inquiry was necessary because of the overwhelming evidence that eyewitnesses at the scene had provided to refute the police’s account of the shooting incident. Though the setting up of an inquiry might take a while, Solomon is patient and hopeful that, “in time the truth will come out and justice [will be] served.”

She related to Stabroek News last week that in the weeks after the shooting she had the opportunity to speak with the President when he turned up at a church service she was attending. The woman recalled approaching him, relaying her concerns and asking for an audience to tell her story. According to her, Jagdeo was warm and he listened for a short while before referring her to his secretary. A meeting was then scheduled for her with Rohee.

She spoke with the home affairs minister recently at what she described as an encouraging meeting since Rohee gave her an extensive hearing and later promised to follow up on her story. Solomon said Rohee was sympathetic and gave her much of his valuable time for which she was grateful.

“The minister was really understanding and he promised to contact me in two weeks’ time to update me on what is happening with respect to my son’s death. I am waiting for call which I am certain will come,” she said.

Solomon said her peace was shattered when her son died and coping without him has been difficult. She struggled to remain calm while reminiscing on his life.
Composed again, Solomon said that of all her children Kevin had been the closest to her. She recalled that his father had walked out when he was still a baby leaving her to be “mom and dad,” and that spiritual guidance was what got them through the years.

Solomon said devotion was an important part of their daily lives and Kevin had hardly missed any. She said her son had been robbed of his life and a future which had appeared bright.

“I feel like I must do what I am doing because Kevin meant so much to me and he did not deserve what happened to him,” she said.

When Dillon was shot the police said he had been in a parked car in the company of two other men and that he had exited and opened fire on them when they challenged the occupants of the car. The police said they had fired back, wounding him fatally and a .32 revolver with one spent shell and two live rounds had been recovered from him. They had also fingered him in two robberies that were committed a short while before the shooting.

But Solomon later openly challenged this account saying her son had been walking on the road when the police shot him once in the leg and that they later had stood over him and shot him in the head at point blank range. She said eyewitnesses at the scene had been vocal about the action of the police when she visited.

Stabroek News later spoke with horticulturist Boyo Ramsaroop who called Dillon an ambitious young man with a promising future. Dillon had worked with him and as far as he knew, Ramsaroop said, he was no criminal. (Iana Seales)

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