Hours after slain 40-year-old police officer Richard Babwah was shot dead on Tuesday, his wife of five years, Akeba Babwah, had to face his two nine-year-old daughters who, with tears in their eyes, told her what she and other relatives were still trying to deny.
“They told me, ‘Daddy is dead’,” said Akeba to Newsday at their Hosein Street, Lopinot Road, Arouca home yesterday.
She said she tried lie to the children, as family members agreed to not yet tell them of Babwah’s death, but she knew with all the commotion and with news of his death all over the media, Renisha and Raianne had already found out the brutal truth.
Babwah, a Special Reserve Police officer with four years’ service, was killed while attempting to thwart a robbery at a Chinese restaurant at Eastern Main Road, Arouca.
He was at Long Yuan restaurant just before 6 pm on Tuesday, eating a meal, when two bandits rushed in and announced a hold-up.
Babwah drew his service pistol to stop the bandits but they shot him multiple times. He slumped to the ground while the bandits ran out of the restaurant and escaped in a red Nissan Almera car driven by a third man.
The three men were caught soon after, but it was too late for Babwah who died on the scene.
Akeba told Newsday she was at her brother’s home when she heard the news of her husband’s death. She explained she was staying with her brother for a few days assisting with the preparation of a funeral which was scheduled to take place today. She and Babwah were in contact over the phone up until a few minutes before he was killed.
“I sent him a message, but he didn’t respond. Minutes after, I got a phone call from a friend who asked if it was true that my husband died. I told them no and hung up then I called his mom Arlene on her home phone and I asked her where Richard was. She said he just left home. I tried calling him again, but I didn’t get any answer. I ran into my brother’s bedroom crying, and it was there I saw it on television.”
Akeba said Babwah loved his family and daughters more than anything else in the world, and was doing everything he could to ensure a bright future for them. He was trying as much as possible to make sure their Christmas was the best ever.
“We started getting Christmas gifts since September. I ordered all their toys online, and he would be on my back every day to make sure I placed orders for the kids. I asked them what they would like and they gave me a wish list and he filled it out to the letter. He said he wanted this Christmas to be the best ever, so we started preparing early.”
Akeba and the two children also got gifts for him. She got him a Nike Libra sneakers, and the children pooled together and bought him a wallet. This coming week, Babwah was planning to begin cleaning and getting groceries for Christmas. Newsday was told the children are now with relatives, while other family members make funeral arrangements.