Rihanna's Cousin Shot One Day After Christmas Visit

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The cousin of award-winning artist Rihanna was shot and killed one day after the two had seen each other on Christmas, prompting the singer to call for an end to gun violence.

Rihanna posted a photo of her and a man, presumed to be her cousin, on Instagram on Dec. 27.

"RIP cousin," she captioned alongside the hashtag #endgunviolence. "Can't believe it was just last night I held you in my arms! Never thought that would be the last time I felt the warmth in your body!!! Love you always man!"

Rihanna didn't name her cousin but tagged the account merka_95 in the photo, according to The Guardian. Us Weekly reports that the account owner posted a photo of the two in honor of the singer's 29th birthday in February.

"Every day we are happy to have you in our lives," the post read. "Happy Birthday cousin, we really love you. Your presence in my life is a source of joy and happiness. To my favorite cousin, may all your dreams and wishes come true."

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Rihanna's fans flooded her account with condolence messages. Some users told her they were sorry for her loss and that her cousin was in a better place.

A report by Barbados news station Nation News names the victim as 21-year-old Tavon Kaiseen Alleyne. The shooting occurred in St. Michael, Barbados -- Rihanna and Alleyne's native nation.

Authorities say Alleyne was walking on a path near his home around 7 p.m. when a man came up to him and fired multiple shots. The shooter fled the scene and has not yet been identified.

Alleyne died of his injuries at a hospital later that night.

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Sputnik News reports that gun violence in Barbados has risen 57 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Guns were involved in 22 out of 28 murders in the past 12 months.

Barbados is trying to crack down on the illegal possession of firearms. Authorities have seized 28 percent more illegal guns than 2016 and brought 15 percent more gun cases to court.

Advocacy organizations on the island have also been pushing for stricter gun regulation.

Us Weekly cites an editorial in the Barbados Advocate in which a writer said that the conversation around gun violence, which has supposedly been happening in the island nation for years, needs to become more active.

"There is no need for years of conversation," the writer said. "Attempts to curb it have obviously been inadequate, but that merely requires new actions, not inaction."

Sources: The Guardian, Us WeeklyNation NewsSputnik News / Featured Image: celebrityabc/Flickr / Embedded Images: Rihanna/Instagram via The Guardian, DoD News/Flickr

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