IN THE blink of an eye, a 12-year-old boy’s joy at graduating from primary school turned to unimaginable agony and sorrow when his mother was gunned down in his presence yesterday in Santa Cruz.
Candy McIntyre, 36, a mother of four, left her San Juan home a proud woman, accompanying her son to his graduation at the Green Meadows Banquet Hall, Santa Barbara Boulevard in Santa Cruz. At 1.45 pm, she was dead – shot multiple times – along the road.
A video recording, showing the boy weeping as he lay on the ground hugging his mother’s body, was uploaded to social media including Facebook.
McIntyre had called her husband and told him to pick her and their son up when the graduation ended. She left the banquet hall talking with her son when a white Nissan AD Wagon approached and shots rang out.
Police said that based on eyewitness accounts, the rapidity of the shots plus the shape of the weapons blazing from the windows of the car, suggested either AK-47 assault rifles or the AR 15 rifle, which is favoured by the US Army.
Newsday visited the scene and spoke to McIntyre’s husband Wendell who said he received a call from his wife minutes before she was killed. He said while on his way to pick her up, he got another call from his son who told him she was shot and killed.
“I was passing by Besson Street there from town on my way up the road, when I got another call, this time from my son. He called me and blurted out, ‘Mammy dead!’ I wanted to know what he meant.
“I drove so fast up the road, when I finally got on the scene I couldn’t believe it. I was supposed to be here but I wasn’t. We married since 2001 and this came and happened. She could have called me and wait for me to come,” Wendell said.
McIntyre, who works with a funeral home, said he asked police if he could help move his wife’s body, but he wasn’t allowed near the crime scene.
Police sources said McIntyre was formerly a state witness in the murder trial of two men who were eventually convicted of the murder of her brother ten years ago during an incident in which she was also shot. The two men were sentenced to death.
McIntyre’s son was kept in a nearby car and consoled by several aunts and cousins who went to the scene on hearing the news.
Police believe someone who attended the graduation tipped off the gunmen who arrived and waited for McIntyre and her son to leave. The body was later removed to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy will be done on Friday owing to the fact that today and tomorrow are public holidays.
No arrests have been made and McIntyre is the 238th murder victim for this year.