Pia, the only girl and eldest of three children for her parents, was accidentally shot by her father on Saturday - the day she turned 18 - as he rushed to the aid of his family who were being held up by two hoodlums as they returned home from choir practice at the St John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Education Minister Andrew Holness expressed sadness at the death of the student. We have so many people out there who do not regard life. Here is another young person struck down before they had a chance to make their mark in this world.
Minister with Responsibility for Women's Issues and Gender Affairs Olivia ‘Babsy' Grange also condemned the increasing attacks on women and children.
"Our women and girls must be allowed to live a life free of abuse and violence and to go about their affairs safely and freely ... I urge civil society to work jointly with Government to eliminate this added dimension of violence being visited upon our women and children," she said.
When the Observer visited the family home on Sunday, Paul Phillips was too distraught to maintain a conversation. His face a mask of grief and anguish, he could only utter: "Mi lose mi queen pon her birthday - pon her birthday!" - the sad wail of a dad who realized he had shot his beloved daughter
Such a tragedy... "when you take the HEAD GIRL of a high school you kill also the spirit"
Pia's death says more about the state of things in Jamaica. It is so senseless that the country is deprived of a potentially bright star, because two gunmen attempted to rob her and her mother.
These, as is often the case, may have been gunmen who never knew Pia at all, not for one day; never knew the beauty and innocence nor the joy and hope that characterised her 18 years of existence.
Source: Jamaican Observer