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May 3, 2016

Another Double Murder in the West; 2 Cousins are Gunned Down

Akeem Thimbriel & Shawn Lopez

The community of Camalote in the Cayo District is grieving and angry. They demand justice for the cold-blooded, brutal murders of Akeem Thimbriel and Shawn Lopez on Sunday night. Thimbriel and Lopez were gunned down just feet from Lopez’s home in the village, riddled by a hail of bullets fired from a grey two door pickup. The investigation is in its preliminary stages, but there are indications that it was not a random act of violence, but perhaps a hurriedly organized retaliation for an earlier altercation over a woman. Even more tragic to the grief-stricken families is a belief that the victims were not the real targets. Mike Rudon was in Camalote and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

At around seven Sunday night, the calm and quiet of Camalote by the sound of as many as fifteen gunshots. As the echoes died away, residents ran outside to see the bleeding bodies of two village youth – Akeem Thimbriel and Shawn Lopez. This is the spot both fell, just about fifty feet from where Lopez lived.

 

Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Deceased

“I stayed at home and I was doing some work on my laptop and I heard the shots. When I came outside, I came by the front of the door and the common-law-wife of the other young man that died was passing. And I asked her, “Those were shots right?” And she said, “Yes, yes.” So I stayed outside for a while and then I walked back inside and whilst I was there about another couple minutes, I saw more people running and then I realized that something was wrong. So I came back out and then my uncle came and said bwai dehn just shot yo your son and Shawn.”

 

Howell Gillett

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, Officer Commanding, Belmopan Formation

“We did our investigation and we learned that the two persons in question were Akeem Thimbriel and the other person was Shawn Lopez. Both of them received multiple gunshot wounds to their bodies. What we have gathered so far, a grey two-door pickup—could be a Ford pickup—pass the two guys who were walking on an unnamed street in the village and fired several shots at them which caused their ultimate demise.”

 

Thimbriel was allegedly taking Lopez home after Lopez got intoxicated at another house in the community. This is the path they walked to reach there, Thimbriel supporting his friend, and this is where both men dropped.

 

Irvin Thimbriel

Irvin Thimbriel

“He was a child that anybody could tell you very, very, super humble. An extremely humble young man and he was just in the wrong place doing a good job. He was taking his cousin home; the other guy was drunk and he was at my other son’s house and so he was taking him home when this happened. He had nothing, nothing at all to do with the shooting.’

 

The vehicle which brought death to the two young men was a two-door grey pickup. And that is where the story takes a sinister twist. Residents believe that a man and a woman living in the community brought in the killers to settle a beef from earlier in the day – a beef with a family member of Thimbriel. Following the shooting angry villagers gathered at the house of the persons they say are responsible for the killing. In the process somebody torched the vehicle in the yard before Police broke up the impromptu protest.

 

Irvin Thimbriel

“What happened is that the vehicle that came—that the shooters were in—came about a hundred yards from here with two people the police have hold right now; a young man and a young lady. The vehicle came to their house before the shooting. It looks as if though they were stalking these guys because who they really wanted to kill was my other cousins, Sanjay Casey; that the person they really wanted because seemingly there was some confrontation with Sanjay and the young man that they have hold right now. And so seemingly this guy called these people to come and do this crime. So basically the police have in their hands the two people who can speak—a female and a male—they know everything.”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“So far we have two persons in custody—a male and a female—whose name I cannot release until we have charged them. But these two persons, the villagers believe that they were a part of this plot to kill these guys. So what transpired after that was that…the police learnt of it and we immediately proceeded to that area, but we were taken over by a number of villages, about fifty of them on that night. We were able to put enough police officers there to stop any other escalation of crime. The two persons were brought into custody. But following that, one of the persons who was brought into custody, his vehicle was damaged and burnt.”

 

Police also have a man they believe is one of the shooters, along with a nine millimeter pistol. They are currently collaborating with their counterparts in Belize City to locate another person of interest.

 

Irvin Thimbriel

“I don’t feel any anger towards these guys; I don’t feel any hate towards them. As a matter of fact, I have prayed for them. Yesterday morning and this morning, I prayed for those guys that did this. And there is a passage of scripture in Romans Chapter Twelve; I’ve had my experience with the word of God and it talks about how your faith comes. And I can tell those guys that they will not get away with it because we have been praying and the Word of God says you don’t repay evil with evil. You repay evil with good and give God the chance for his wrath to come onboard. And so what they are going to face is the wrath of God.”

 

The mother of Shawn Lopez, distraught, declined an interview with us today. Both young boys were good friends, and their families, and the community, is mourning their loss. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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