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Nov 29, 2004

Cop gunned down, killer on the loose

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There’s a killer on the loose tonight…which is not all that unusual in these turbulent times, except that this killer took the life of a policeman. It wasn’t in the midst of a blazing shootout or contested arrest; in fact it looked more like a cold blooded execution. News 5′s Jacqueline woods has the story.

ACP Maureen Leslie, O.C. Easter Division

?I believed I aged getting to that scene. It was roughed to see a police officer in his uniform, down on the ground like that and when I got there, the officers who came after were so upset.?

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

?It was suppose to have been the last night shift for Police constable 956 Uwin Wayne Armstrong, but around eleven fifty on Friday night Armstrong had just come off the Belcan bridge and was heading for the Caribbean Shores Police Station to report to work when a man shot him to the back of the head as he walked passed the entrance to the Framers Market.?

Eglah Arnold, Common-law-wife

?I just want to know why, so that when my son gets older, my children get older and they can understand the meaning of death, I could explain to them what happened. I just want to know why. You know because he was–he was–the best husband, a wife could ever have.?

The police officer=s family and friends say they do not know why anyone would want to kill Armstrong, a man known as quiet and conscientious. Assistant commissioner of police and the officer in charge of Eastern Division, Maureen Leslie says the police force is troubled about the way one of their fellow officers was killed.

ACP Maureen Leslie

?He was teased as being a gentle giant. He was big in size very big in size but extremely quiet. He was committed; he was dedicated; he was one of those officers who got to work about an hour before time to make sure that he was on spot and he was very respected by his colleagues. Nobody can’t says anything negative about him. He was not operational that mean she was not on the street making arrests and raiding houses, he was stationed at Caribbean Shores doing regular preventative patrol duties.?

Thirty-two year old Eglah Arnold says her common law husband always wanted to be a policeman and never feared for his life. Arnold says there is only one reason why she believes her loved one was gun down.

Eglah Arnold

?I question this over and over since I learned about his murder and I just thought that it’s probably a mistaken identity. They probably took him for a another cop caused my husband loved police. He has always wanted to be a police.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Do you think his death was as a result of somebody trying to send a message??

Edwina Armstrong, Sister

?I think more like that indeed because he just passed out like two years ago and he is not really familiar with most of these criminals and they are not familiar with him, he worked at a quiet area in Caribbean Shores and he is always off the streets. He is maybe posted at the different posts in that area. So, I think it is more like sending a message to the department.?

Edwina Armstrong, who works at the police family violence unit, says her brother wanted to make a difference although their mother did not want him to be a policeman. Armstrong says her family only in April lost their father and six years ago another brother violently died.

Edwina Armstrong

?First, my mom didn=t want him to be a police officer because she said it=s getting dangerous you know she lost a son to a violent death about six years ago because he assisted in a domestic situation and we just lost our dad in April to cancer. But I encouraged him and that is what he wanted and that is why he was a police officer, he really wanted to make a difference.?

And today, the public is being asked to make a very big difference. Police say a number of people witnessed the shooting and saw the gunman, but they have yet to come forward. The cop killer is described only as a Creole man who is slim built with a low hair cut and at the time of killing was wearing a white t-shirt and long black pants. Leslie says they have been working round the clock to catch the killer.

ACP Maureen Leslie

?I think as a society we are failing. I think the time has come and it may have come in the past, where we have got to look at our individual self and say what am I doing to make Belize a safer place. It is not just the responsibility of the Police Department. It is everybody’s responsibility and God knows that you have people out here who know these persons are because they have to boasts Jackie. It’s no sense killing a police officer and keeping it to yourself. You have to tell someone you scored; that you are the big person who brought down the law. So people out there are aware and I am appealing for members of the public, for heaven sake, please call us. Call 922, tell us something cause this is not the way we want to go as a country.?

P.C Armstrong leaves behind his common law wife and five children. He will be laid to rest following a ceremonial service at the Word of Faith in Hattieville Village on Wednesday. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

At his passing out from Police Training School in 2002, Armstrong was awarded the Commandant’s prize.

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