Dr. Philip Ireland (center, with mic): “We hold nothing against him; we want nothing from him.”

— Says the Ireland family

Dr. Philip Ireland, the father of late Precious Ireland, has said the family has forgiven 16-year-old Jovanus Turay, who shot and killed his daughter at the Cyber-Ed Christian School.

Speaking at the funeral of Precious at the Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Cathedral in Congo Town earlier today, Dr. Ireland chose to bless Jovanus and said the Ireland family needs nothing from the lad.

“We hold nothing against him, we don’t want anything from him, no blood for blood. Liberia has seen enough of this. We forgive him and pray he becomes a better father, a better husband, and a better child.”

The victim, Precious Ireland, is the daughter of Dr. Philip Ireland, a physician at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital and survivor of the deadly Ebola virus in 2014.

The young Ireland, who was 14, met her untimely death during the early morning hours of April 14, while hanging out with schoolmates including Jovanus Oliver Turay who shoots her dead with a 9-millimeter pistol on the premises of the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence in Sophie Community, Congo Town.

In a press release after the shooting, the school said “a student brought a handgun to school this morning,” Cyber-Ed Christian School said in a statement issued yesterday. “While a majority of the students were eating breakfast in designated locations, this student slipped away to show off the gun to a friend and it accidentally went off. Staff, emergency medical personnel, Police, and all responded quickly. P Regrettably, the student did not survive the shooting.”

Meanwhile, the Ireland family disputed the school narrative that the shooting leading to the death of their daughter was accidental in the absence of a full police investigative report and demand an apology. The Ireland family also disclosed that they are going to demand that the police charge Turay as an adult instead of a juvenile.

“We are not making a conclusion at the moment because we obviously know that the act was untimely,” said Atty. Maxwell Grisby, an uncle of the deceased. “Such gruesome killing will not go unpunished, but I don’t how that will happen. So we will give all of our full support to this case.”

Much to the consternation of the Ireland family and others who knew and loved Precious, the funeral is being held in the absence of the final report of the Liberia National Police investigation, even though sources suggest that the investigation was concluded more than a week ago.

According to Justice Minister Musa Dean, he has not yet seen the report from the investigation; therefore, as far as he is concerned, the investigation is still ongoing.

However, it remains unclear how and from where Jovanus Turay obtained the fire-arm, whether owned by his parent(s) or someone somewhere outside of the home. Turay, an avid freestyle rapper, is seen in a Facebook photo handling a single barrel rifle, which suggests that he has some experience with operating firearms.

Another burning follows, who exposed Jovanus,16 to firearms? Was it his father, mother, his mother’s boyfriend, or someone outside of the family? 

Another Facebook photo shows Turay and Precious Ireland in a side hug, suggesting that they might have been somewhat close friends, perhaps close enough for him to confide in her details related to how he obtained a firearm.

And while Jovanus’ mother, Joan Saah, told investigators that the homicide weapon belonged to Lauvette A. Williams, Sr., her deceased consort, who was a customs broker, the family of the late Mr. Williams has denied that the man ever owned a gun. 

In a statement signed by Hester Williams and Shirley Williams Awadje, the Williams family unequivocally denied the allegation, stressing that the deceased was a law-abiding and peace-loving man who spent his entire life serving humanity in his church (The Little White Chapel).

The shooter’s father, Sylvanus Turay, in a Facebook video a few weeksago, condemned his son’s action and pleaded with the victim’s family for forgiveness.

Turay furthered that his family is horrified; heartbroken, and disappointed just like the Ireland’s families who lost their daughter. The suspect’s father who is a career actor, said his family and the Ireland family are very close and his son did not mean to kill Precious.

“Well, I had the privilege to talk to my son. There are two things he said to me: Daddy, please talk to the Irelands for me, and I want you to know that my son regrets the incident and everything that happened,” Turay noted.

 

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