Pair of shootings probed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sutaan Rahyhime Clark loved to laugh.

The 27-year-old man, who had just moved to a new apartment, often opened his door to people in need. He gave food to the hungry, shelter to friends who needed a bed for the night.

On Monday, Clark apparently opened his door for one too many people.

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Shortly after 9 p.m. Monday, police found Clark shot to death in his apartment in the 700 block of Battery Avenue, said Lt. Debbie J. George, spokeswoman for the Suffolk Police Department.

While investigating that incident, police were called to a second shooting in the 800 block of Kilby Avenue. That victim, whose name and condition are not being released, was taken to Obici Hospital by a citizen before police arrived, George said.

Police are releasing little information about either shooting, George said.

&uot;We haven’t ruled out the possibility that they are related,&uot; she said. &uot;It is still a very active investigation.&uot;

Clark is Suffolk’s fourth homicide victim this year, said George. A string of shootings has occurred in the city recently, the most recent being the shooting of 20-year-old Lamont Cradle of Chuckatuck last Saturday.

Margarita Clark of Portsmouth believes the very qualities that made her youngest son so special – his quiet, non-judgmental kindness and desire to help others – may be what got him killed.

&uot;I think that may have been his undoing,&uot; said his mother &uot;Taan loved too many people, trusted too many people.&uot;

Taan, who was frequently sick as a child, had worked hard to improve his life and make it on his own, Clark said. Even though he loved cooking and worked in several fast food restaurants, Taan had finally settled into a job working at the Goodwill Thrift Store several months ago.

Clark’s cheerfulness and friendliness with employees and customers alike will be missed, said Nina White, the store’s manager.

&uot;Taan was so lovable and he always kept us in stitches around here,&uot; White said.

Her employees are taking news of Clark’s death pretty hard, she said.

&uot;I was devastated when I learned about it,&uot; she said. &uot;We still can’t believe it. He was such a beautiful person. We miss him already.&uot;

Margarita Clark is puzzled about why anyone would want to kill her son.

He wasn’t a fighter. He was an entertainer…and a lovely person with a sweet spirit,&uot; she said. &uot;That’s why this is so hard for us.&uot;

Taan’s death will not be in vain if people would heed it a lesson in acceptance, something her son learned early in life, Clark said.

&uot;Taan always said ‘I am who I am’ and I always loved and respected him for that,&uot; she said. &uot;People judge people too much in the world.

&uot;Accept people for who they are, not what you want them to be,&uot; Clark said. &uot;We need to learn to help each other, regardless of who we are.&uot;