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Apr 27, 2004

Businessman shot and robbed on N. Hwy.

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You can call it brazen, bold, audacious, or just plain facey. Whatever words you choose, it appears the dictionary is rapidly running out of adjectives to describe the nature of violent crime in Belize. The latest outrage occurred in Ladyville on one of the country’s busiest thoroughfares. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports from the scene.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Around eight-thirty this morning well known Belize City businessman forty-seven year old Philip Gallaty and an unidentified assistant were travelling to the Corozal Free Zone. But as their vehicle slowed for a speed bump in Ladyville Village at mile nine on the Northern Highway, the men came under attack.

Authorities believe whoever shot Philip Gallaty knew that he heading in this direction and waited for him. As Gallaty pulled up at the speed bump, two armed masked men walked out of some nearby bushes and opened fire.

Insp. Albert Kelly, Police Dept.

“It appears that they were there waiting for somebody, we cannot say exactly who they were waiting for, but more than likely it could be assumed that they were waiting for Mr. Gallaty.”

The mass of blood in the bullet riddle vehicle tells the tragic story. Gallaty was behind the wheel and could not escape. He was rushed to Universal Health Services suffering from bullet wounds to his stomach and shoulder. A very frightened eyewitness, who did not wish to appear on camera, told News 5 that just before the shooting she noticed two young men standing by the road side and then she heard a series of gunshots. The woman said as she looked she saw the pair firing into the S.U.V. One of the men was at the driver?s door and the other at the front passenger door.

Voice of Eyewitness

“One of them had on a red shirt and black pants, the other had one a white undershirt with a black pants, but they had thing over their face, so you can?t see their face. The one in the red shirt shoot three time and he run, the next one inna the white, well he mi trigger happy, so he lone di bang, bang, bang, bang and when he done shoot the man he took out a black bag from out the vehicle then he run gone.”

The woman said when she got to the vehicle she saw Gallaty slumped back into his seat, but she did not see any other person inside the GMC Yukon.

Voice of Eyewitness

“When I get there I see this man the sit down inna the vehicle, and from deh some other man come and I di holler and tell them try get to the man because the man noh dead yet. And lot ah vehicle mi deh and nobody noh want put ah inna the vehicle till when a next young man come and he get a man and he lift him out of the vehicle and put him a pickup back and they gone with ah dah hospital.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Was the man talking at the time??

Eyewitness

?Well first when they put ah in the pickup, he nevah the say nothing to the people. When they put ah inna the pickup I watch how it touch yah and like he mi try seh something, but I couldn?t say what he mi the say.”

At the crime scene, police recovered seven expended nine millimetre shells. According to Inspector of Police, Albert Kelly, they suspect robbery was the motive for the shooting.

Insp. Albert Kelly

“They got away with two bags. At this time we do not know the contents of the bag, so we cannot say what was inside the bag, no.”

It’s a miracle Gallaty’s assistant managed to escape with only a graze. He reported to police that he handed over to the assailants two bags containing mostly business documents, after which they then ran down a dirt road and jumped into a green taxi that was waiting in the area.

Insp. Albert Kelly

“We have several elements from different departments out here. We are combing the area, checking on the information that we have received as to where these persons were taken and dropped off and the investigation continues.”

When we contacted the hospital to get an update on Gallaty’s condition, we were told that he was still undergoing surgery. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

Latest reports from Universal Health Services indicate that Gallaty is out of surgery. His condition and prognosis are unclear at this time.

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