A Smiths Station family is now back safely in the United States, after their vacation in the Turks and Caicos islands took a violent turn. Kevin Newman was shot and robbed at a convenience store in the islands. Monday, his family tells News 3 he is showing signs of improvement. Newman, 38, will have a birthday Tuesday. It’s a birthday his family feared might never arrive.
Newman was flown to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. after the attack in the islands. He went into a medically induced coma, but has since awoken. Karen Newman, Kevin’s mother, says his improvement is due to community support and his will to fight.
“He remembers,” Karen says. “He’s in good memory. He’s still in pain of course, and he’s got a long road to go.”
Mom says her son barely made it back alive. He ran into three people who robbed and shot the insurance adjuster.
“It went through the vein right next to his heart, caused him to bleed internally and they had to give him a lot of blood,” Karen Newman says. “They had to take one of his kidneys. Nobody would help him [on the street]. Apparently, there were people standing around. That store, there was just a little corner store, that they’d been going to all week, my daughter in law told me. And so I guess Kevin felt safe.”
Karen says her son works out quite a bit. She had confidence that he would recover quickly. She believes her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Yeah, he’s a fighter, and I think he did try to fight those three people that came up to him,” Newman says. “He’s a family man. He’s a great dad. He does everything with his son, you know like coaching soccer and things like that. He’s all around a great person. But you know sometimes things happen, even to good people.”
In anticipation of Kevin’s 39th birthday, Karen usually picks up a cake to celebrate. However, this year she will travel to Fort Lauderdale to support her son in his recovery. No arrests have been made in Kevin’s case so far.
News 3 spoke with Garrett Townsend with AAA to determine what best practices could possible prevent a similar situation from happening to other travelers. Townsend urges travelers to connect with STEP, which puts them in touch with the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. Townsend says whether it’s a terror attack or an isolated incident, relaxed travelers need to be on high alert.
“I think the rule of thumb is to never let your guard down,” Townsend says. “Again, and that remains the same, if you’re in a place you’re familiar with that you never know perhaps what you could encounter.”
Townsend says U.S. consulates or embassies don’t necessarily prevent violence, but they make it easier for U.S. citizens to get in touch with key contacts back home.
Townsend would not comment specifically on carrying some form of protection with you while on traveling broad. He says to keep a couple of copies of one’s passport at all times. Leave a copy with a friend or family member, and keep one in the bottom of a suitcase in case of a loss.