MONROVIA – Dr. Philip Ireland, father of the 14-year-old Cyber-Ed School of Excellence Student who was shot and killed on campus, says he has forgiven the perpetrator, and holds no malice against him or his family.

The perpetrator, Jovanus Turay, 16, also a student of the school is currently being held in a safe home by the Liberia National Police while investigation into the shooting incident is still ongoing.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of April 13. The deceased, Precious Ireland, was pronounced dead on arrival at the SOS clinic.

She was shot twice on both sides of her neck.

Jovanus was picked up from campus by the Anti-Robbery Unit of the Liberia National Police.

“As head of the family, we the family, we forgive Jovanus, his father and everybody that has to do with that family hundred percent,” Dr. Ireland in his tribute at the Harvest Continental Church where the interment service of the deceased was held over the weekend. 

Dr. Ireland stressed the need for reconciliation between the two families – his and that of Jovanus. Both families have known each other closely for decades.

He professed blessings over Jovanus’ life and offered him prayers.

“In fact, to take one step forward, we bless you, we pray for Jovanus; we take one step further again, we ask God he will be a better father, a better husband, we will never serve the enemy, we hold on to God – that is our tribute for the beloved Precious,” he said.

Dr. Ireland said Liberia has witnessed too much bloodshed as a result of seeking revenge. This, he said, originated from deep rooted hatred for different reasons.

“We don’t want anything, we don’t want blood for blood, we don’t want any revenge. Our country has seen too much of that, we forgive, we require nothing,” he said.

The funeral ceremony was also attended by students of the Cyber-Ed School, and a host of officials of government including Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Vice President Taylor urged schools in the country to incorporate a counseling program within their systems that would allow students to freely share issues bothering them for them to be counselled on overcoming these issues.

She also urged parents to never be too busy for their children and advised that parents have to be mindful of who their children affiliate with.

“We don’t want anything, we don’t want blood for blood, we don’t want any revenge. Our country has seen too much of that, we forgive, we require nothing.

Dr. Philip Ireland, Father of the Late Precious Ireland

Over Two Weeks No Charges

The Constitution of Liberia mandates that every person detained or arrested be formally charged and presented before a court of competent jurisdiction within forty-eight hours. However, it has been over two weeks since the shooting incident occurred and the Liberia National Police is yet to charge Jovanus for him to be arraigned before the court.

Police spokesman, Moses Carter, told FrontPageAfrica that investigation is still ongoing. He, however, could not say exactly what the police is investigating.

“The police are still conducting investigation. I cannot tell you the details of the investigation but we do not want a scenario where we forward Jovanus to court and we don’t have all the evidence to support the charges,” he said.

However, a former CID officer of the Liberia National Police who asked for anonymity told FrontPageAfrica that the investigators are either being sluggish with their job or just playing delay tactics with the investigation. 

“The law requires that if we cannot charge the suspect within 48 hours, we should release them while we continue with the investigation. But if they are still holding him in detention, whether safe home or wherever, once he is under police supervision he is in their custody. That is a violation of the suspect’s right.

“Nevertheless, this is a crime that occurred in an enclosed area in the presence of a number of people. The suspect is available, the eye witnesses are available. The parents of the suspect are available. You have your person of interest, you have the fruit of crime, the coroner did examination, the school authorities are there? What more do they need to conclude an investigation into this matter?” he asked rhetorically.

The former Police CID urged the investigators to release the suspect if they cannot gather the evidence to warrant charges to support prosecution.

Parents apologize

In an earlier interview with FrontPageAfrica, Jovanus’ mother, Ms. Josia Saah tearfully expressed regrets over the incident and said it is like she has lost two children.

“The child in question here was like a daughter to me. She calls me aunty, I don’t know how I’m going to live with this, but I trust that God is in control,” she said.

She said she is going through a double hurt – losing a daughter and having a son who has jeopardized his future.

“All I want to tell the public is that I am sorry. I am very sorry. I want to tell the Irelands that I am very sorry. I am deeply sorry,” she said in a faint voice with tears rolling down her cheeks.

Mr. Sylvanus Turay, Jovanus’ father, described the incident as a “heartbreaking and disappointing” happening that has broken down and “killed” many people, including him.

Mr. Turay, who is a renowned Liberian movie actor and producer disclosed in tears that the Irelands and Turays are families, but the incident is unfortunate and sad.

“I know that a lot of people are horrified. It’s horrifying disappointing. It’s something that every parent will get terrified about. But I thought to just speak to the hearts of people, our Liberians, parents, children, families, the government, our judiciary every person, every child, adult, a girl or a boy”.

“The boy that caused the demise or death of Precious – that boy has killed a lot of people. He killed her, but he killed me and a lot of people. I want people to understand that Precious is like a child to me. I want people to understand that I didn’t get to know Precious from my son’s school. She’s a family. I want people to understand that that bullet took a lot of lives”.

With tears profusely rolling down his cheek, Mr. Turay regretted the incident involving his son.

He clarified that every child of the Ireland’s family, including Daniel, Aaron, Nathaniel, Hannah are “like my own”, while the deceased parents are like a brother and sister to him.

“I want to express my regret about the incident. I want people to understand that we are sorry about the death of Precious.”

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