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Jul 8, 2014

Another Youth Apprentice Gunned Down Inside His Home In Belize City

Leon Burgess

In the old capital, gun violence is relentless and grows even more brazen. On Monday night, a young man was gunned down in his bed inside his home. Leon Burgess and his common-law-wife had just retired for the night when he was executed.  Numerous bullets found their mark on his upper body and head causing his immediate demise. According to relatives, there was word on the streets of his imminent murder. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The mysterious, yet somehow foreseen circumstance surrounding the callous murder of twenty-five-year-old Leon Burgess remains the subject of a homicide investigation today, several hours after he was ruthlessly gunned down on Monday night.  The employee of RF&G Insurance Ltd. was inside his home with his common-law wife when he came under gunfire from an unknown assailant who waylaid him outside the wooden building.


Voice of: Common Law Wife of Leon Burgess

“I noh know how long I mi di sleep but I just hyah noise di pass my ears like shwing, shwing, shwing, like, you know.  Like God mi deh with me because I noh really get up or nothing and when I do noh hyah da noise cause dah like dah noise deh right da my ears and when I do get up and thing and I di ask my bwai like, “Babe weh gaan on?”  He just look pan me and nod ih head pan wah lee side and he just come back side and lay down.  So I di shake he and I di ask he like, “answer me weh gaan ahn!” and like he noh di answer me none at all.”


By that time Burgess had been struck multiple times to the upper body and the head and was bleeding profusely.


Voice of: Common Law Wife of Leon Burgess

“When I do end up cross ova ahn I check ahn and when I check ahn I sih piece a ears gaan and I sih blood di come out ah ih mouth.  So I di shake ahn and I di seh no dis da noh fu real, like I di dream something so I di shake ahn fi mek sure dat da real ih di happen.  When I shake ahn and I turn ahn pan di side, he end up mi di choke affa ih blood due to the fact that ih mi di bleed internally yo undastand and I turn ahn pan ih side and ting and he spit out wahn bullet and dah mih wahn horrible sight.  Dah mih wahn horrible sight.”


According to Burgess’ mother-in-law, the couple was seated on her back verandah sometime before nine o’clock and the two were conversing casually before retiring into their home.  Moments later she was startled by a succession of gunshots.


Julia Arana

Julia Arana, Mother-In-Law of Deceased

“Fahn I hyah di shots I know it was him because it was too close.  It was too close and I heard it like it was just like in my house and I said, “Lord give me the strength to deal with it” because then I noh know if da di two ahn dehn get shot.  And I just come out and when I come out she di tell me and like, you know, like wahn sense and I start to pray, you know, because only God could give you strength eena dehn ya time.”


While a motive for the deadly shooting is unclear, Julia Arana says rumors of her daughter and son-in-law’s demise had already been floating around in the area.


Julia Arana

“About a month ago, one of my daughter came to me and told me, “Mommy, dehn di talk on the street dat dehn wahn kill Taiska and Leon.  So I said I will pray, I will leave in God’s hands and when this happened I seh God, it’s your will, I couldn’t do nothing more.  I prayed and I fasted, you know, but we didn’t see nothing, we didn’t see no one, she didn’t see no one.  We didn’t even hear a little crack that would give us something to get up, so it was planned and made.”


Burgess, who is the product of a youth apprenticeship initiative spearheaded by Diane Finnegan, is the third person from that program to fall victim to the ongoing scourge of violence in Belize City.


Voice of: Common Law Wife of Leon Burgess

 “We get fu meet through wahn program, through wahn program, wahn apprenticeship program with Mrs. Finnegan and thing, whiching that da wahn program weh she noh tolerate dehn habits deh.  So if yoh have it yo haffi drop it in order fi work with she, yo check.  So he totally mi change ih life completely, whiching I noh know ahn as di person weh dehn so-call seh he is but he dah noh da person to me.”


It is an account of Leon Burgess that Finnegan faithfully attests to.


Diane Finnegan

Diane Finnegan

“2012 he came into the Youth Apprenticeship Program and he came in with a group of friends and he was just a young boy looking for direction, ready to take on a new path in life and he wanted to see what this Youth Apprenticeship Program was all about because one of the past apprentice had told him about the program.  And as we journeyed through the six months, of course I got to really see this young man as an individual who had great potential, who was hungry for something new, something different.”


It is believed that Burgess’ murder was an act of retaliation by feuding gangs within the area.  That theory has not been ruled out by the police department.

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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5 Responses for “Another Youth Apprentice Gunned Down Inside His Home In Belize City”

  1. Rod says:

    Am telling you this year we will pass Honduras. For the most murders in the world people when will you get enough march pa this gov drag this pm outa y bed and lock him up he is impotent on crime now it is 4531 murders and counting you might be next or your mother or father or brother or sister unu Betta do something about this situation now before it is too late for yo

  2. Louisville, Ky. says:

    How did we as a people, get to this? I could envision a scenario whereby two individuals are in the heat of a fight and one pulls out a weapon and harm the other. But to shoot indiscriminately into a place of residence while the inhabitants are asleep, takes a certain kind of cold, murderous mindset.
    These are, indeed the last days that are so critical and hard to deal with where the love of the greater number has cooled off. In fact, as far as this gang foolishness is concerned, there has been absolutely no love lost……for there was none!

  3. camisha says:

    sad sad sad how many more have to die before the government stand up and make a change. These boys are trying to change their live and work to become a better product we have to do more to protect them. Since when a person cannot feel safe in their home? I refuse to come back to Belize and as a Belizean I hope that tourist see this and they stop visiting. The Government must do something or get them out.

  4. Natural says:

    Ah know the feeling rude bwai when u belly hungry no job no deh, baby hungry the cry wife the trip cause the water cut off but u c rudebwai the only alternative dah fi sell drugs fi di big man ship thing ah know you cry plenty time dah night rude bwai fi di madness fi stap but it can’t, ih just noh wah stap. ah love u rudebwai cause ah noh blame u someday all the shot callers wah fall rudebwai no cry fi mi rudebwai ah deh dah faren di mek sure mi goods deh pan check rudebwai….

  5. Timber says:

    You know Camisha, I used to ask some of my childhood friends who migrated to the US why did they think that way of Belize when I heard them say they’d never return. And these are folks who don’t visit Belize one-twentieth the times I do; I’m talking about they’ve returned four or five times in thirty years. I return several times each year but it has become disheartening. From the time you hit the airport , dealing with immigration to customs. I see how they treat some of these tourists and even the locals. You have all right to question someone but don’t abuse your authority. Had an experience earlier this year with customs officer Gillett (Bulge). He decided he wanted to show himself that day so, he proceeded to loudly declare what I had in my luggage. I travel heavy all the time; tennis, shoes, socks, clothing etc. At any given time in two bags with seventy pounds I may have as much as ten to twelve pairs of shoes varying in sizes because I see some of these kids who are on their last and some of their parents are trying. It’s sad. I paid my customs duty, I have no issues with that. I prefer to do that because some of these officers beg big when they realize that you travel frequently; I-phones, Samsung Galaxy, Jordan tennis. It’s not worth spending that kind of money for them to give you a pass. Same Bulge, I understand from some of my friends over here, pulled an elderly person who also travels frequently out the line just recently, and had that person searched. See, Bulge, you don’t know that man nor myself and it’s not good to take food out of people’s mouth but you may fall victim to that. You have what, two-three more years before retirement? Careful you don’t get sent home before then. Then, Customs tell you to show receipts, and when you do, they don’t want to accept it because,according to them, they know that’s not what you paid. They have a tendency to go online and try to tell you what you paid. Some of them act like they don’t travel and see the huge discounts some of these stores give especially when season is changing. Personnel in a lot of these government offices have nasty attitudes and they believe that you’re at their mercy. Lands Department, GST, I even heard the Legal Aid department where one of my friends had to fly in and deal with some issues with her mother. I heard a tall dark lady was in rear form; very unprofessional and boisterous. My friend said it was better her mom had gone to an attorney who was charging more because the mom had to still do the leg work.If she didn’t call or go almost every day, nothing was done. I met a young boy a couple years ago on Basra by West Street as I was driving by. You could see the look on this child’s face as he was walking home , so I stopped and asked what was wrong. He had just com from visiting his dad to see if he could help because he was about to start Wesley College, but of course, he came back empty handed. I couldn’t help but go home and find some shirts and a pair of tennis shoes that fit this child. What appalled me was to hear how mannerly this child was ,seeing the area where he lived. So, being poor doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant and ghetto. So, I’m developing the same mentality as yourself Camisha. It’s depressing dealing with Belize. I will continue to bring what I can to help some of these kids.

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