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Jan 12, 2016

2 Women Shot After Gunmen Unleash a Hail of Lead

A barrage of gunshots was unleashed before nine o’clock on Dolphin Street, Belize City on Monday night. Gunmen fired as many as fifteen shots at two men sitting on the steps of the Rolland family home. The duo would escape the gunfire, but a mother and daughter were not so lucky. Shennel Rolland, who is six months pregnant, was in harm’s way when a bullet hit her in the abdomen exiting her side, but miraculously missing her unborn child. Her mother, Stephanie Smith, was also hit in the stomach but remains hospitalized at the K.H.M.H.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A barrage of gunfire on Monday night has left a mother critically wounded and her pregnant daughter lucky to have escaped grave injuries.  The near-fatal attack happened here on Dolphin Street shortly before nine o’clock, when an armed intruder stormed this two storey wooden building.  Eighteen-year-old Shenell Rolland was inside her home when the spray of bullets began.

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland, Shooting Victim

“Dah mi bout 8:45, quarter to nine when my bredda and his friend mi di sihdown pan di step.  Dehn mi deh pan di step di sihdown di play game pan my bredda friend phone and my bredda ask me fi get thing fi he eat.  I usually mek tea da night time and he usually come fi fi he tea then he go home.  And he sihdown pan di step, I give he ih tea and I tell he, well as I about fi tell he, “Mommy seh mek yo go home because she wah lock up cause she have work da mawnin early,” same time when he look back, when he look back deh we hyah six shots, bang, bang, bang and he and ih friend jump affa di step and run inside a dih house.”

 

Shenell’s sibling and his friend dove for cover inside the house but that did not stop the attack.  The gunman reportedly shifted position before proceeding to unload as many as fifteen shots in their direction.

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“When dehn run inside ah di house dehn gaan eena di back room.  So then I neva think da shot and I stand up da di door when the person come all di way by deh so and staat shot towards di house.  Dat da when me and my ma get shot.  My ma get shot eena her stomach and I get shot eena my stomach but my one buss through.  I get shot eena my leg.  Then di shot still di buss so me and my ma move from di door and we gaan into my ma room.  We gaan eena my ma room and we hyah everything cool down so then my ma gehn wah hammer and lock di door.”

 

By then however, forty-one-year-old Stephanie Smith had been struck in the abdomen.  Unbeknownst to Smith that she had been injured, she inquired about the wellbeing of her teenage daughter.

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“My ma ask mi if I get shot and I tell my ma no but when I look pan my [stomach] I feel aftawards and I seh yes.  Then my bredda ask mi if I get shot and I tell my bredda yes and when I look down I sih lotta blood staat pour down.  Then my ma, my next lee bredda and my lee bredda weh di go da Gwen Liz tell my ma, “Ma but you get shot too.”  Then afta dat my ma tell me mek I call di police and I call di police and I explain to the police weh happen.  Police sehe look outside fi wah trooper and when I look outside same time I sih three trooper outside.  One a dehn rush me to the hospital.”

 

A single round had penetrated her abdomen, the bullet entering and exiting laterally across her belly.  It’s a miracle that the unborn she is carrying for the past six months is unaffected by the injury.

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“Dehn seh dehn wahn keep me overnight due to weh I pregnant and dehn haftu check pan di baby and dehn dehn keep my ma een because dehn cyant find her bullet so dehn got she eena surgical ward fu try tek out her bullet.  Only dat I remember.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How far along are you in terms of your pregnancy and what are the doctors saying as a result of this injury to your stomach?”

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“Well docta tell me everything okay.  I’m six months [pregnant].  Docta tell me everything okay.  Ih mek I listen to ih heartbeat to ih heartbeat last night, dehn mek I listen to ih heartbeat and everything.  Dehn seh I lucky dat di bullet buss through, ih cohn pan di side, through and through, than front on through and through because if ih mi cohn front on through and through ih coulda mi kill me and di baby.”

 

The frightening ordeal has forced the expecting mother to seriously consider relocating from the neighborhood.

 

Isani Cayetano

“This is a near death experience for you, I know it’s a difficult thing to have to deal with given the fact that you are several months pregnant.  How are you coping with this seeing as though you were not the intended target but you came under gunfire nonetheless?”

 

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“I noh really know because I noh even think we wahn stay ya.  I think I wahn ker my lee bredda dehn and we mussi gwein sohnwhere go stay.  Until my ma could recover and we could get somewhere else fi stay cause my ma seh she noh wahn stay ya no more neither.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Is there a reason, in your mind, why your brothers or the person your brother was with would have been targeted for this shooting?

 

Tyrone Meighan

Voice of: Shenell Rolland

“Noh from weh I know bout.  Noh from weh I know bout.  I noh think so.”

 

But something had to have triggered the callous attack, leading police to investigate the motive behind the shooting.  In the wake of Monday’s mayhem on Dolphin Street, twenty-two-year-old Tyrone Meighan, no stranger to the law, has once again been detained, along with three minors.  Belize City police are also seeking two more persons for questioning. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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