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Fernander decries senseless killing of seven-year-old

Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday that he was outraged to learn that a seven-year-old boy was killed during a drive-by shooting and encouraged church leaders to make a deeper impact in the communities.

“As a community of churches and leaders, these senseless killing of innocent children, including the latest victim, a seven-year-old boy, has greatly impacted us all, leaving us heartbroken and devastated,” Fernander said in a statement.

“Many of us as pastors have young children of our own and we could only imagine the pain and deep loss his parents and loved ones must be experiencing today.

“The Bahamas Christian Council strongly condemns all acts of violence, most especially the killing of our young children as well as our teenagers and young adults, many of whom have been taken away from us much too soon and certainly before they were able to realize and fulfill [their] God-given potential and purpose.

“The murder of innocent children is unacceptable and we stand with the leadership and members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in their efforts to bring the person or persons responsible to justice as soon as it is humanly possible.”

Reyes Williams was playing with friends in his mother’s yard around 9 p.m. on Sunday when a man in a blue car drove by and opened fire on a group of people. Reyes was hit several times and died at the scene, police said.

His family described him as a kind and loving boy. He would have turned eight next month and was preparing to enter the third grade.

Police said they had three people in custody in connection with the killing.

Children and parents should have an expectation of safety in their communities, homes and immediate surroundings, Fernander said.

“No child should ever be afraid to venture outdoors to play among friends, wondering if they will be the next victim of a drive-by shooting or the unintended target of a stray bullet,” he said.

“As president, I am encouraging all of our churches to continue the work they are doing within their respective communities and let us all double our efforts in utilizing our pulpits, people and programs in a combined effort to make an even deeper impact within our communities, most especially among our youth.

“We are [at] a time in our history when we need all sectors of our society to take on the task of building our country better than it was before. This includes educating each other in ways that may de-escalate violent situations.”

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