More than a year after Moruga resident Vernrick Hudlin was shot dead by an off-duty policeman, his family is still awaiting word on the investigation.
“The 28th of August was one year since my son was killed and nothing, nothing, nothing,” lamented Hudlin’s 72-year-old mother Mary Hudlin-Walker during an interview with Guardian Media at her Moruga home.
Hudlin’s killing had sparked two days of fiery protests by relatives and villagers along the Moruga Road, near Gomez Trace, St Mary’s Village.
Apart from the Police Service, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) had also launched an investigation into the incident.
The mother said the police visited her sometime after her son’s funeral last year.
She said the last she heard was that an officer investigating the matter was in quarantine and nothing further since then.
The mother said she has also been unable to contact the person from the Police Complaints Authority.She said, “I still waiting and I hope the police commissioner and Mr Alexander and all of them who get on the TV and talk I hope they could remember that, that man kill my son and nothing up to this time.”
She said Hudlin, fondly called Myman, was shot in the abdomen and “suffered a lot.”
Hudlin-Walker said her life now has an emptiness that cannot be filled.
“Life could never be as it was. We accustomed to him being around. He was a really jolly fella and we accustomed to him and we missing him. He is my son we will miss him. But I just can’t kill myself I leave everything to God.”
Also expressing a feeling of sadness and emptiness over Hudlin’s loss, his stepfather Michael Walker complained that the investigation is taking too long.
“It makes you feel with the system not comfortable when victims like we happen to lose loved ones the interest in the investigation how slow it is,” he complained.
Questioning why the investigation was taking so long when the evidence was at their “fingertips,” he pointed to the case of American George Floyd who was killed by a police officer, saying that local criminal justice system should take pattern from the American system.
“I want to tell the authorities the system is too slow in investigating certain matters when you have evidence at hand that you can work with and you don’t have to fish around,” he lamented.
About the case
Hudlin, 56, worked as a watchman/plant attendant at the Gomez Trace Wastewater Treatment plant for about six years.
Initial reports said the officer claimed that Hudlin attacked him with a cutlass during an altercation and he shot him with his service revolver. A video of the incident showed a car pulling suddenly in front of Hudlin while he was walking on the side of the road.
Hudlin quickly stepped away and then walked up to the front passenger’s window.
Hudlin raised his cutlass then collapsed after being shot.
The driver and the front passenger then exited the vehicle, eventually picked up Hudlin, placed him in the back seat and drove off.
Hudlin was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
When contacted director of the PCA David West said their investigations have been completed and they are in the process of forwarding the information gathered and their findings to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Meanwhile, Guardian Media was told by a senior officer that the police are still waiting for a forensic report.