The Bahamian track and field community mourns the loss of one its own as former athlete Douglas Lynes-Bell was found gunned down on Tuesday in Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
A day after the shooting, DeKalb County Police in Georgia confirmed that the deceased was the former Bahamian track and field athlete, according to the report. It goes on to say that Lynes-Bell, just 37 at the time, was found shot to death in the parking lot of an office park – the Memorial Bend Office Park in the 5300 block of Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, Georgia, just after 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Detectives are investigating the shooting as a homicide.
Lynes-Bell, who lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and was employed as a consultant at FedEx, represented The Bahamas on numerous national teams as a junior athlete including CARIFTA twice in 2000 and again in 2001. He and his twin brother Dwayne were standout quarter-milers and 400 meters (m) hurdlers.
As a promising young Bahamian athlete, Lynes-Bell won a bronze medal at CARIFTA, finishing third in the under-20 boys 110m hurdles in St. George’s, Grenada, in 2010. He finished in 16.09 seconds behind Dwayne Robinson of Jamaica (14.63 seconds) and Rossif McCollin of Barbados (15.04 seconds).
It’s in the 400m and 400m hurdles in which he really made his mark though. He was a two-time national champion in the 400m hurdles in 2004 and 2005, and finished with personal best times of 22.11 seconds in the 200m, 46.77 seconds in the 400m and 50.61 seconds in the 400m hurdles. Indoors, he ran 21.94 seconds in the 200m and 47.13 seconds in the 400m.
In his last recorded track meet, he finished eighth in the 400m hurdles at the Auburn War Eagle Invitational, in Auburn, Alabama, in 55 seconds flat.
Former coach David Charlton actually credits Lynes-Bell as the reason why he got into coaching.
“He was brought to me by former BAAA (Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations) President Desmond Bannister as a gifted young athlete. Desmond told me that he had this young athlete who he wanted me to coach, and I started working with him, and that is how I got into coaching. It is from that the Star Trackers was born,” said Star Trackers Head Coach Charlton, who is now respected as one of the top quarter-mile and hurdles coaches in The Bahamas. “It’s a sad day in the Star Trackers family and in the track and field community in The Bahamas in general. Douglas brought in his twin brother Dwayne and I got to know them very well. I continued coaching them up until they went to college. They were both energetic kids, fun-loving, and just a joy to be around.”
Lynes-Bell was quoted as saying in the club’s 15th anniversary booklet: “I knew I wanted to go to college so I gave up a lot of my down time to train with David Charlton who always supported and encouraged me and my twin brother because he believed in our talent. For that I am truly honored and grateful.”
After graduating from Mt. Carmel Prep, Douglas and twin brother Dwayne went on to Delaware State University where they excelled collegiately. They were the first two athletes of the Star Trackers Track and Field Club – now recognized as one of the more noted and accomplished athletic clubs in the country. Lynes-Bell also later earned a USA Track and Field Level I Coaching Certificate.
“When others saw what they were doing, they wanted to become a part of what was going on, and that’s really how the Star Trackers started and then blossomed,” said Charlton. “They were the first two athletes from the club to go off to college, and now the club could boast of about 60 kids that came through the doors and went off to school. Anytime you lose a person like that it’s a big loss. We were with them from the beginning. We were like family. I brought them (Douglas and Dwayne) into my home, and because of their stature, a lot of people actually thought they were my sons. Losing Douglas is tough. It’s a sad day in the Star Trackers family and we offer condolences to his family.”
Today, there are 68 athletes enrolled in Star Trackers, but the Lynes-Bell twins were the pioneer athletes. They never really developed from the junior ranks into stardom at the senior level, but Coach Charlton said they were always career oriented and focused on other goals as well.
The Nassau Guardian Sports Team offers condolences to his family and friends at this most difficult time.