Peace shattered: The house where the shooting happened last night. *Photo by Danny McDonald
Peace shattered: The house where the shooting happened last night. *Photo by Danny McDonald

 

Neighbours were shocked at the bloody slaying of 29-year-old Erin Lee Richardson, describing the area as a quiet, friendly and carefree pocket enjoyed by tourists and residents alike.

Several said they could not recall another instance of violent crime in the immediate area.

“It’s not a neighbourhood where you’d be afraid coming or going. You don’t feel as if something bad is going to happen,” said Johnny “Five” Flood, who has lived in the area for about a decade. 

“I hope they catch the person that did it. I hope he rots in hell.”

It’s the type of neighbourhood described by another: “If you need a plumber, you go with the plumber from the neighbourhood. That’s the type of place it is.”

Mr. Flood added, “Everyone gets along here: black, white, Chinese, young, old. Everyone has each other’s backs.”

Another woman who owns property on Riviera Crescent laughed when asked if the neighbourhood had any history of gang activity.

“No, no, no, no,” she said, shaking her head.

Several neighbours said they had initially assumed the gunfire was fireworks coming from The Fairmont Southampton, which is located atop a ridge opposite the location of the shooting.

“I was asleep and then blam, blam, blam. It woke me up,” said one neighbour who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

Several agreed that there were a handful of gunshots, but no one could say with certainty how many.

One neighbour was emotional, tears streaming down her cheeks as she declined to comment on the shooting through a screen door to her home.

Another neighbour described the scene in the aftermath of the shooting, when more than two dozen residents milled around in the road near the crime scene. “There was no panic, there was no anger. Everyone was in shock, I think,” she said.

The road, which runs along a ridge and overlooks a steep fall, is a popular jogging and cycling route for island residents and tourists alike. 

This morning was no different. Camera-wielding and backpack-wearing tourists in trainers walked up and down the road without pause. 

Joggers clutching water bottles ran by over the asphalt patches on the narrow, dead-end road.

If it weren’t for the police presence and yellow caution tape, it would have been just another day on Riviera Crescent.

“Who wouldn’t feel funny?” said one neighbour, describing her reaction to the killing. “But we know it’s a safe neighbourhood.”

The shooting occurred in the yard of a custard-yellow house at 16 Riviera Crescent. 

Yesterday morning, caution tape ran across the driveway. A white spotted cat milled about the crime scene while a white Chevrolet sedan sat in the driveway. The back of the house faced a steep drop into a ravine that locals call “the fall”.

In the yard near where Mr. Richardson allegedly shot sat rusting weighlifting equipment. There was a bench press in the yard, along with a curling bar and a straight bar. 

Neighbours disagreed over whether Mr. Richardson used the equipment. Some said that equipment had been sitting there from a previous tenant. 

Others were adamant: yes, people still worked out there.