Sonia Archer is describing the circumstances that led to the murder of her 32-year-old son Dave Archer while he was on the job, as “craziness”.
Hours after doctors summoned her to the hospital where she learnt about the tragedy that shattered her world, Archer lamented that her child was a hardworking young man with a big heart, and did not deserve to lose his life as a result of the crazy actions of a gunman.
“If he was a person to live in a particular way… then I would have had reasons to expect anything is possible, because I am a realist. But this is craziness. “He was the type of person that would always say ‘mummy these fellas does just like a lot of foolishness, people does just want to be fussing about simple things’. His thought process was good. So I never had a reason to think this may happen to him,” a grieving Archer said, as she reflected on her son’s life this afternoon.
It was around 10:35 p.m. on Monday, that Dave, a role model who worked with at risk youth and participated in bodybuilding competitions, was shot on board the MV Dreamchaser during an altercation. According to police, Dave and other security personnel had to intervene in a fight that occurred moments before docking.
The assailant exited the boat and returned with two other males.
Security was alerted and a struggle ensued resulting in Dave being shot. He was rushed by police to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he later died.
“Right now I don’t even know about justice. I know somebody did it and they are probably out there breathing. There are just so many layers to this whole event. It’s just crazy. I don’t know that there are words
. . . It is the most unreal, yet real experience”.
Archer said Dave was a genuinely respectful individual.
She suggested that it would be difficult for her to find a memory of the former Alexandra student ever being rude to her.
The mother repeated that she and Dave enjoyed a wonderful relationship.
In fact, Archer pointed out that yesterday morning she visited Dave at his West Terrace, St James home, located just a short distance from her house.
She recalled that as they chatted while he prepared breakfast, Dave informed her that he would be heading to his security work with Gorilla Security Services, on the MV Dreamchaser for 1 p.m.
“He is good at what he does and he was built for it. As the guys were saying to me this morning, he was really the negotiator. So when guys want to get into something, he would tell them settle yourself, because he was also a firm person. So rather than be quick to put his hands on them, he would be the one to get your attention and tell you relax yourself,” she said.
“I don’t think it was specifically targeting him, but the shooter meant to use his firearm on whoever. He left home with it, or he went and got access to it and came back. So he probably was returning to use it. Everybody just saying to me that Dave was trying to do his job.”
The mother of four who lost a daughter to breast cancer in 2010, indicated that until now, she never saw Dave working as a security officer as a risky undertaking.
Nevertheless, she admitted that she often warned Dave to drive carefully when returning home, especially after working double shifts.
“I never had the fear of what actually happen because he didn’t have the associations that would create a fear in me that I can’t sleep, or I should be monitoring,” she said.
Dave was employed with Massy as a forklift driver for many years.
For 16 years, Dave worked as a volunteer with the Nature Fun Ranch. His mother said he also worked with the senior citizens in the community in addition to organising activities for the St Michael North West Constituency Council.
She said he took his love for body building serious, having participated in several competitions, including the Darcy Beckles Bodybuilding Invitational Classic and the Mr and Ms Bridgetown Bodybuilding contest.
“When I remember how many people lives he has touched . . . Young and old, people are not even controlling their emotions, they are just expressing themselves. That is a comforting thing for me,” an emotional Archer said.
When Barbados TODAY contacted one of the owners of the MV Dreamchaser, they said there would be no comments on the incident at this time.
However, a cruise scheduled for Saturday June 15 on board that same vessel has been cancelled.
Posting a tribute to Dave who was also known as Jungle, on his Facebook Page, Founder of Nature Fun Ranch, Corey Lane, said many saw Dave’s big muscles, but those at the ranch saw his big heart.
“Thank you Jungle for every rancher you taught to ride, that you checked in with their teachers for us, that you gave foodstuff to, that you provided school clothes for and much more. Thank you for your 16 years of service.
“We are happy we were able to say thanks formally last year, but we are sad to say it finally now. Rest in peace and while there will be no one to help in heaven, I am sure we’ll find some horses and barbells,” Layne’s tribute read. firstname.lastname@example.org