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Aug 30, 2004

3 dead in murder/suicide

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For the last several weeks the Belizean political cauldron has been bubbling at a full boil while, perhaps coincidentally, the wave of criminal violence that threatened to overwhelm the nation seemed to subside in response. This weekend it returned, however, and as activists prepared to hit the streets of the old capital, a hand gun was blazing near the City’s bus terminal.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Twenty-one year old Myra Guadalupe Cunil, a food vendor and a resident of San Benito Peten, Guatemala, had been in the country for just a couple of months. On Saturday morning was shot and killed by her former boyfriend thirty-nine year old KBH security guard David Contreras. Contreras not only gunned down Cunil, but he also killed forty-five year old Blanca Estella Nunez, a food vendor, who got hit by one of the bullets as she tried to get out of the line of fire. Contreras also managed to shoot at forty-four year old Gustavo Ayala, a taxi driver of the area, who received a bullet wound to the left side of his chest. The deadly violence finally ended when Contreras turned the gun, a point thirty-eight revolver, to his left temple and pulled the trigger.

Theodore Figueroa, Witness

“I looked at the scene of the incident and I saw the security guard lying on his back almost on his right shoulder with his head leaning on the sidewalk and the woman was lying in front of him.”

Theodore Figueroa, a taxi driver at Novelo’s Bus Terminal, is probably the last person Contreras spoke to before he started shooting. Figueroa says Contreras appeared calm and normal as he walked passed him.

Theodore Figueroa

“I saw the gentleman in his security uniform coming from towards the Pound Yard Bridge area. He walked straight to me looked up and said, whe di go on teddy bear, you cool? And he bucked his hand against mine like the normal street and he went passed. So he went passed me my back was not turned, I did not see much, but I heard two shots fired.”

It was those two gunshots that are believed to have caught Cunil in her chest. It is reported that as Cunil ran towards Nunez’s food stand, Contreras fired at her again.

Theodore Figueroa

“I went and hid behind my car after I heard about eight shots, I got up to check and see what had happened as I was getting up I heard another two shots fired and I went back down.”

The bullet first grazed Nunez’s worker before it struck her in the chest. Elio Grajales says he had just left his common law wife’s side and was about one hundred yards away when he heard the gunshots. By the time he ran back to Nunez, she had already been shot and was lying on the ground. Grajales denies reports that Nunez got shot trying to save Cunil. He says his common law wife was killed by stray bullets.

Elio Grajales, Common Law Husband

“My wife didn’t even know what was going on. She heard gun shots–and you know as you hear gunshots, you know from where it’s coming. But Myra was a friend, a company of all of us because you know we work together. If we would have known somebody was going to come and try to hurt her we would have tried to help and I wouldn’t have left the place and leave my wife alone.”

According to reports Contreras was abusive towards Cunil and that is why she ended the relationship. Friends say that Cunil told KBH that Contreras had threatened her life. It is also reported that a similar complaint was made to the police. News 5 tried to get a comment from KBH management, but all we were told is that Contreras was not on duty at the time of the shooting. They declined to comment further police complete their investigation. The police did confirm to News 5 that the weapon Contreras used was licensed to KBH. How Contreras still had the gun in his possession while he was off duty is just one of the many questions both victims’ families want to know

Raul Cunil, Father (translated from Spanish to English language)

“His daughter was a good person working. She have the intention to work and this company that this guy was working with, is suppose to hire people who are more responsible and for the surety of the Belizean people. And what he is saying is that the company should at least help him with the expenses because his daughter wasn’t doing anything wrong for this guy to just come and commit this act to her.”

Elio Grajales, Common law Husband

“Well, I think what they should do is investigate, see who they hire, who they give a gun to because I understand this person had threatened this woman to kill her. So I think they should be more careful to who they hire because that’s a security company. They hire people to secure, not to give people guns to kill innocently.”

Jacqueline Woods reporting for News Five.

Authorities say that in July Contreras reported to them that someone had broken into his house and stole some clothing and thirty dollars. At that time Contreras told police he suspected that Cunil had committed the act. Cunil was never found guilty of the crime, but because she was illegally in the country she was deported back to Guatemala and had only recently come back to Belize.

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