'Make the most of your life': Slain YouTube star's mother implores teenagers to stop giving into violence
17-year-old Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton had been targeted by machete wielding thugs before and was sent to Jamaica to live with relatives for his own safety
A devastated mother has pleaded with teenagers to "stop, please" and to "make the most of your one life" after her 17-year-old son was brutally gunned down in London on the night of May 5. 38-year-old Pretana Morgan, the mother of Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, said that she "couldn't have asked for a better son".
The teen rapped under the name GB and was identified by Morgan who said that her son had "so much potential" for his future. She then added: "My son was a very handsome boy. This is not life. My son's a good boy. He was going to do 13 subjects at school before they kicked him out. He was a bright boy."
https://t.co/mAbyKUsN9E The mother of a 17-year-old boy shot dead in south London has criticised police for failing to protect her "handsome boy". Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was found with a fatal gunshot wound in Southwark at about 6pm on ... ... pic.twitter.com/ANJ3cb3E28— MacMadison News (@MacMadison_News) May 6, 2018
The distraught woman told the Daily Mail how she found her son, who had been fatally shot, surrounded by armed police early on May 5 evening. She said: "I was sat in the park and someone said they heard the Peckham boys were around. I came looking for Rhyhiem and a girl said she saw boys running up and down. I saw a boy on the floor, it was my son on the floor with police with guns over him."
Morgan then claimed that her son was the target of thugs from a gang who has been responsible for the attack on Brandon Estate in a silver BMW on May 4 and May 5 night while brandishing shotguns.
Barton was a very talented rapper and had been stabbed at an earlier time by the same gang in May 2016. Morgan was worried for her son's safety so she had sent him to Jamaica, where she was born, to live with relatives. He had come back to London only in February of this year.
Morgan said: "We do not need this. We cannot be doing this all the time, teenagers you need to stop please. Enjoy your life, your youth, get knowledge in your head, get wisdom and knowledge. You only have one life, you better make use of it. They shot him from a car, there will be no forensics."
"I do not know when I am going to see my son. I need to see my son as soon as possible I need to hold him, my handsome boy. There is no gang round here, we live as a family. He was just trying to focus and trying to be an architect, he was not a bad child."
Morgan then slammed the police by saying: "We're not being protected because of the police. The police are the ones putting us in danger."
17-year-old Abigael Adeoye, Barton's best friend, said: "We were friends from when we were young at primary school. He was really bubbly, he used to message me and say 'Abigael come and see me'. I should have told him to stay at home yesterday.'
Lacey Main, Barton's godmother, spoke of how the teen was chased by the gang who were armed with "swords and machetes" before he was sent to Jamaica "for his own safety". The boy had run into his godmother's home and the gang members had stood outside her house and demanded that he be sent out. According to Main, the gang said: "We want Rhyhiem! We are going to kill him. Send him out!"
Barton, who was an aspiring architect, was fatally shot in the chest just a few weeks after he had returned to live with his mother and 6-year-old sister at the Brandon Estate in south London. Main said: "This has been going on for three years - they come and stab people randomly."
"About a year ago they chased him into my home and they broke down my gates and they were standing there with machetes and swords. They said 'We want Rhyhiem! We are going to kill him. Send him out!' I will not send a child out for a killing." A spokesperson for the Scotland Yard said: "Police were called to reports of gunshots heard on Cooks Road at around 6.05 pm on Saturday. Officers, including firearms officers, attended."
"A 17-year-old boy was found nearby on Warham Street suffering from a gunshot injury. The London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance provided First Aid. He was pronounced dead at 6.56pm.Next of kin have been informed. Formal identification is yet to take place. A postmortem will be held in due course."
The detectives with the Homicide and Major Crimes Command are currently investigating the case. The spokesperson added: "There have been no arrests and inquiries continue."
Rhyhiem's death makes him the fifteenth teenager to be killed on the streets of the capital since Christmas. The police and authorities were already grappling with the issue of the spate of violent crimes on London streets in the recent past. According to official figures released in April, the number of homicides in London had gone up by 44 percent in the last year.
Following the death, Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: "Enough. Enough. My heart goes out to families grieving children and teenagers. So many shattered lives, families and communities."
On Sunday, another case of gun violence reared it head as a 13-year-old boy suffered a shotgun pellet wound to the head within minutes of another teenager, 15, also being injured in a gun attack. It is believed the younger child was just a bystander and was struck by shots which injured the older boy.