By JADE RUSSELL
THE family of Olympian Shavez Hart say in the final moments of the athlete’s life that he was trying to be a ‘peacemaker’ in a fight, but was sadly killed in the process .
Sidney Hart, the victim’s father, revealed that Shavez had just returned home to Abaco about a year ago after graduating from Texas A&M University, where he had earned a degree in business sports.
Police said on Saturday a group of men got into a physical altercation in the parking lot of a local nightclub in Mount Hope, North Abaco around 2 a.m. before one of the men left and returned with a firearm.
The shooter then allegedly shot the victim in the chest. He was taken to the local clinic where he was pronounced dead. A suspect was later arrested and taken into custody.
The grieving father said when he first learned his son had been killed he was shocked and denied it was him.
Mr Hart said: “I wondered which Shavez they were talking about because it couldn’t be my Shavez they were talking about. But of course it turned out to be him; his lifeless body was on the ground just covered.
Although Mr Hart was not there when his son was shot and killed, he said some people present told him his son was breaking up a fight and protecting one of his former high school classmates .
“Other people who were there were saying that this argument didn’t start with my son. It started with someone other than Shavez recognized because they went to school with him at St George’s These guys wanted to beat the guy, but Shavez stepped in.
“He was like the peacemaker, but in intervening my son died,” Mr Hart said, fighting back tears.
During the interview, Mr Hart said his son was someone who loved to give back despite his own challenges.
The father explained that the star athlete was promised a job at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, but it never came to fruition. But that hasn’t stopped Shavez from volunteering her time to the children of the community.
Mr Hart added: ‘He was very active in the community. He came home and gave back to the community by training local kids and hosting a basketball camp for them.
He said Shavez had done everything in his power to freely dedicate his services to youth empowerment through sport.
When asked what kind of person Shavez was, Mr Hart described him as “humble”, “introverted” and someone who loved to laugh.
“He wasn’t a show-off, if someone didn’t tell you it was Shavez, you could walk past it,” Mr Hart said. “He didn’t brag about any of his accomplishments. He has been seen all over the world many times and never boasted. He never spoke to his peers or friends; he just wasn’t that kind of person. He had a lot of rings and gifts that people gave him that he chose not to wear just to be an ordinary boy.
The distraught father, reflecting on his son’s murder, said it seems this generation can’t reason without things getting violent or causing someone’s life. But he urged young people to change their ways and choose a life of purpose rather than pain.
Sharmaine Hart, the victim’s mother, was deeply upset by the loss of her son and noted that they had a great relationship with each other.
She was in Freeport preparing Shavez’s younger sister for school, but quickly returned to Abaco when she heard the heartbreaking news that her beloved son had been killed.
Ms Hart said when she received the terrible news she was with the mother of Shavez’ child, with whom he shared a 13-month-old son.
Ms Hart said: ‘He and I were very close, we weren’t distant at all. I am not distant with any of my children, my sons are mama’s boys.
The mother said that on the day of her son’s murder, she spoke to him on the phone as they regularly did just to catch up.
“I knew he loved me,” the mother said.
She described her son as a “caring” person who did his best to care for others and his family.
When asked how she thought her son had fallen victim to the growing incidence of gun violence in the country, Ms Hart said it made her feel bad.
Trying to contain her grief, she said, “They seem to be carrying guns like a key fob in their pockets. They are using guns cowardly, the gun violence that is taking place is severe and spiraling out of control.
Both parents emphasized that they love their son very much, which is why they did their best to support his dreams as a person and an athlete.
The athlete also had three siblings who echoed the same love and admiration for him.
The sprinter represented the Bahamas in the 100m and 200m at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
On September 6, Shavez would have celebrated his 30th birthday.