Susanne and Victor  Jeetam

no closure: A life-size photograph of 27-year-old murder victim Justin Jeetam hangs on a wall behind his parents, Susanne and Victor, who recalled the day of their son’s murder, during an interview with the

Sunday Express yesterday. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

When you enter the Jeetam family’s home, the first thing you notice are the photos of their son.

In the gallery, a large collage made up of photos of happy moments in his life is pinned to the wall.

On the front door, another photo of the smiling 27-year-old hangs proudly.

In the living room, another life-size photograph of the former Fatima College pupil is positioned just behind the family’s sofa.

It gives the appearance of parents who are proud of their son and want his image displayed all over their home.

But the photographs serve not only as a reminder of his accomplishments, but of his tragic murder at the hands of a killer who remains free.

Justin Jeetam was shot and killed on November 17, 2019, while purchasing a meal at Sami’s Gyros in Curepe Junction.

A lone gunman approached him and shot him three times before walking away.

His family believes it was a case of mistaken identity.

Speaking with the Sunday Express at their El Dorado home yesterday, Jeetam’s parents and sister insisted police have all the information and evidence they need to solve the case and bring the killer to justice.

However, ten months later, they are yet to get any kind of closure.

Jeetam’s father, Victor, said the murder seemed to have stemmed from an altercation that took place at a nearby club between a group of men.

He said CCTV (closed-circuit tele­vision) footage showed the altercation and showed one of the men leaving.

Describing what he saw in the footage, the grieving father said the man later returned with a weapon and shot his son, who was dressed similarly to one of the men in the video who was involved in the ­altercation.

He believes that man may have been the intended target.

“From what we heard and what we saw on the video, there was an altercation between two guys and the man that did the shooting. The two guys went across to Sami’s and the other one walked away towards the bus route.

“Soon after, that’s when my son came and he and two of his friends went across by Sami’s, and you can see in the video where they were talking. And then the other man came back... about 13 minutes after.

“He walked straight up the road and when he almost reached the club, he walked across the road, and I don’t know the words that were spoken, but he killed my son right there.”

He said his son and one of the men who were involved in the ­altercation were both dressed in blue T-shirts, which makes him ­believe his son was mistaken for the other man.

The club, he said, turned over the footage to the police.

The two men who were involved in the altercation were identified by the police, but the third man—the shooter—remains at large, he said.

He believes the key to solving the case is the CCTV footage showing the killer.

The Sunday Express was shown a screen grab from the footage showing the shooter up close.

It was a low-quality image which, the family said, they were told the police did not have the technology to “clean up” to get a clearer view of the killer’s face.

He said he could not understand how the police were able to identify and track down the two men who were involved in the altercation, but are yet to identify the shooter.

Additionally, he said the officer assigned to the case has stopped taking his calls.

“In the beginning, it was fresh in everybody’s mind and we had the comfort that they were working on the case. He gave us his personal cellphone number. In the first instance, he used to answer the calls...but when he got familiar with the numbers, he just stopped answering.”

Suffering for months

He said every day since his son’s murder has been difficult.

Jeetam was his only son.

Jeetam’s sister, Kim, said the loss of her brother, who she described as the “baby” of the family, was a tough blow.

“My mother suffered from depression for months. My father had two heart attacks and a mild stroke within this time,” she said.

While she spoke, Jeetam’s mother, Susanne, wiped away tears.

The family said Jeetam was known to be hardworking and ambitious, and was due to start a new job the day after he was killed.

He was described as a homebody who rarely went out and who preferred to be in the house playing video games.

“He was not involved in anything. The police told us they knew for a fact after they did their background checks... that he was not involved in any criminal activity. Everybody spoke of him highly. He would never even back-answer us or anything; we never had a problem with him,” Victor Jeetam said.

The family is pleading with the police to better analyse the CCTV footage of Jeetam’s murder and bring his killer to justice.

Asked what message the fami­ly had for Jeetam’s killer, they respon­ded in unison with a question: why?

“We just have one question,” said Kim Jeetam. “Why? We will have that question from now ­until we meet him. We are trying to live, but nobody knows what we are going through. His birthday will be next month. He would have been 28.

“People say time will heal, but we will never heal. We are just trying to learn how to live with it. He had so many dreams. I just want to share his story. I don’t want people to forget.”

Police say Jeetam’s murder remains under active investigation.


THE MINISTRY of Health has reported one additional Covid-19 death, bringing the local toll to 98.