BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 25, 2017–As a child, Andrew Bennett was soft-spoken and timid, but he would grow up to become, “Hard Rock,” a premier disc jockey (DJ) at KREM Radio.
Hard Rock’s influence on the airwaves was to be reckoned with, and so was his influence in his community.
His home on Central American Boulevard was transformed into a sort of training academy for the next generation of disc jockeys.
During the day, there was a giant sound system visible and audible to passersby, as upcoming DJs honed their talents, but by night, there was a projector up, making it possible for all to see ongoing NBA games.
Unfortunately, just before 8 o’clock on Wednesday night, Bennett was fatally gunned down a few feet away from his residence.
The 42-year-old was at a bus shed nearby when a gunman walked up to him and shot him. He was left dead on the scene. Police have not yet charged anyone in connection with his murder.
Amandala has learnt that about a month before Bennett’s murder, a man rode past the Iguana Street basketball court and fired a barrage of shots while he (Bennett) and some other men were playing basketball. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Bennett’s family today confirmed this report, but were unable to confirm who the target was.
Amandala today spoke with his mother, Ethel Nicholas, who resided not too far from him. She told our newspaper that she had last seen him alive on Wednesday morning, but communicated with him just before his death, when he sent one of his daughters over for food.
Minutes later, Nicholas told us, she heard gunshots. However, she never imagined it was her only son, because he was not at all involved in any sort of criminality. “He was a role model”, she said, adding that, “he did not drink or smoke.”
According to the grieving Nicholas, there was nothing to suggest that her son’s life was in jeopardy.
“Ih devastating, and ih haad, but wi have to cope wid it,” she explained.
She recollected that his love for music began when he was a child.
“I had a little radio with di two speaker and he tek it down and he start mek ih own sound system, and that was when he was 14 years old, he was going to ACC,” she said.
She told us that he had earned his nickname the summer before pursuing his studies at the Anglican Cathedral College (ACC).
According to her, he was enrolled in a football program at the MCC grounds, but was too shy to talk and nobody knew his name and so referred to him as Hard Rock, in reference to Hard Rock Café, the sponsor of the football tournament, the name of which was printed on his jersey.
She further told us that he was the protégé of veteran disc jockeys, Dion “Presi-D” Gabourel and Mose “The Mad Rocka” Hyde.
His career reached the pinnacle when he was employed by KREM Radio. She told us that that was one of his greatest achievements, and he had often dreamed about returning.
Hyde today commented on his passing.
“Hard Rock da no gangsta, he nuh di live da life, if yuh know Hard Rock, yuh know da wa man ah lotta jokes an ting like that,” he said.
He added, “Dat da nuh di guy yuh expect fi see pan di asphalt with x amount ah gunshots inna ah. And then yuh start to think broader about what Hard Rock is to the community, because di work weh Hard Rock do tek place kinda unda di radar.”
“Yuh got this bredda weh basically yuh coulda seh tun fi he house into wa sanctuary fi youths and outta da sanctuary, deh responsible fi nuff DJ career, including nuff DJ weh we utilize da KREM,” he explained.
Hard Rock leaves behind three children. His family has not yet announced the date of his funeral. A post-mortem examination will be done on his body on Friday afternoon.