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Tragedy in Brooklyn

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By Tony Best
Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

To the retired police officer in Brooklyn, the news was shocking, virtually impossible to comprehend.

“We were at a meeting of the Caribbean Law Enforcement Officers Association about a week ago and she was her usual quiet self,” recalled Leroy Hutchinson, a Bajan who left the New York Police Department a year ago after decades of service. “She was a professional and a loving mother. Now, it’s all over and we don’t really know the reason why. I hadn’t seen her for some time and we were happy to meet once again.”

Hutchinson, a highly regarded cop in the East Flatbush community, was reflecting on the murder-suicide which left off-duty police officer Rosette Samuels, her one year old son, Dylan, and the child’s father, 33 year old Dayson Peters, a Guyanese immigrant dead. Police say Samuels, who was from St. Vincent, shot and killed her child, her boyfriend and then herself in her apartment on East 56th Street in the mostly West Indian neighborhood of Flatlands on Monday morning.

There could have been a fourth victim of what the NYPD and residents of the area are calling an unfathomable tragedy. Samuels, who became a cop in September 2000 had 19 year old son from a previous relationship and he was asleep in a rear bedroom when he was awaken by gunshots and fled through a bedroom window, apparently saving his own life. It was the officer’s son who called 911 around 8.30 a.m. and met the cops in front of the house when they responded. Once inside, they found the off-duty cop’s body face up, along with that of her child on the bed. The boyfriend’s body was inside the rented apartment.

“It was a tough crime scene,” said Paul Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesman.

What has perplexed Hutchinson, relatives, neighbors and officers was that no one saw the events coming.

“I couldn’t have imagined something like this happening. I never thought that when I saw her last week, it was going to be the last time I was seeing her alive,” was the way Hutchinson put it. “It was terribly upsetting.”

Eighty three year old Agnes Samuel, who lives next door to the scene of the killings and is an aunt of Officer Samuels, was left speechless.

“I never heard them have an argument,” she said of the officer and her boyfriend, a track maintenance supervisor of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A cousin of Peters described him as an “excited” father who loved doing things with his son. As a matter of fact on the morning of their deaths, father and child were scheduled to go swimming in an indoor pool near their home.

“Every Monday morning they swim,” said the cousin who also supported the aunt’s statement that a quarrel couldn’t have triggered the deadly rampage.

“Never,” the cousin told reporters when asked if there was a history of quarreling between the two lovers.

Samuels was assigned to the 108th precinct in Queens and Brown, the NYPD spokesman, said there was nothing in her file that would have raised red flags about the likelihood of a deadly shooting incident in the offing.

Peters mother couldn’t make head or tails about what caused it.

“He’s my son. He’s my everything. Oh Father! Oh God. What a loving son I have,” she said.

The NYPD said that Samuels used her off-duty gun, a 9-milimeter Glock firearm that she was authorized to carry when she was off duty, to kill her victims.

Ionie Brown-Johnson, a 73 year old neighbor, said that from all appearances the West Indian cop was a loving and caring mother.

“She walks along with the baby in her arms, she looks loving with the baby,” asserted Brown-Johnson, “I’m shaking. I am asking myself, “how could this happen”?

Hutchinson too can’t find answers. “We are shaking our heads in disbelief.”

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