Family’s Mourning Interrupted by Gunshots on Antelope Street
A family deep in prayer was caught by stray bullets on Sunday night at their Antelope Street house in Belize City. Miguel Alpuche Junior and his mother, Ignacia, were offering prayers on the first anniversary of the death of Alpuche Senior when gunshots interrupted the solemn celebration. A third family member was fortunate and was unscathed. News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke to the shooting victims and files the following report.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
An elderly woman, praying with her daughter and son to a shrine of her deceased husband, was struck by a stray bullet inside her living room, as she sat in this chair reciting litanies in his honor. The family had just gathered together for supplications before retiring for the night, when the distant sound of gunshots caught their attention. Miguel Alpuche was struck on the right ankle before realizing that his mother had also been shot in the back.
“This happened about nine o’clock while we were getting ready to go to bed. So me, my mom and my sister who is visiting from Chetumal because we were celebrating one year. We did our Cabo de Ano, as we call it, our rosary, celebrating his one year passing. But that was over. So we were about to go to bed. Me and my mom sat in the sofa because my sister was, like I said, is here from Chetumal visiting. So we’re having a conversation and I suggested, I said, okay since we’re have the alter up and everything, let’s pray, you know, before we go to bed, you know. The routine is that we pray before we go to bed at night. So we said let’s do it out here. We were about to do that when we heard the gunshots from a distance because it didn’t sound immediately like, you know, it was right in front of the house. You heard it from a distance.”
The slugs were not meant for the worshipers, but the havoc wreaked inside the two-storey home when the bullets flew wide of their intended target, has left them shaken up and injured.
“I jumped up, you know, yoh di react. You di hear this so much gunshots. So I reacted, I jumped up because I have my mom and my sister, so yoh di protect yoh family, not knowing because you are in your house. I stood and I tried getting to the door when I realized that my floor had blood and my foot was bleeding. I said, “What, this means I get shot.” So I turned to my sister and said, “Sis,” I said, “please don’t tell my mom I get shot.” So while that was happening I hear my mom and she started to scream out, “My back, my back!” So I turned around and I told my sister let’s check and we said, “Mom, lean over so I could see your back.” I deh eena blood and everything but I still because my mom is my priority. And there was nothing, there was, I didn’t see anything so I said, “Mom, you’re okay, you’re fine, it’s just the fright.” Ih seh, no, my back and she started screaming and so when we saw the blood then we realized she got hit from behind. The bullet came in through the house, through my bedroom and into the sofa.”
Eighty-four-year-old Ignacia Alpuche, whose son requested that she not be videoed for this story, was grazed in the back after the bullet perforated the wooden walls before punching through the fabric of the sofa.
Voice of: Miguel Alpuche
“Fortunately, it just touched her, it just gave her a minor puncture but it did as much damage. I got, the bullet that hit me went through my ankle and exited out. So that’s basically it. That’s all I can say honestly.”
“When you realized that you were both injured what did you guys do next? Did you signal for help?”
“I came to the door because I realized my mom, and like what I’ve said, my mom has been ill for years and I’m the one that takes care of my mom and so I came to the door, I had my nephew that lives right in front of us, so I came out and I started shouting, please we need help, me and grandma got shot, you know. I started to tell my nephew, please, we need help and that’s about it. The neighbors started to come over and then one of the neighbors, the young man from in front of the house, he came and brought a towel and wrapped me up and they took me to the hospital, because we called the ambulance.”
The vicinity which includes Antelope Street, Pelican Street, Raccoon and Iguana streets, has become a hotspot of late. What is interesting is that these streets are within a few blocks of the Raccoon Street Precinct.
“You live in a neighbor that for quite some time has been a bit dangerous, in terms of some of the individuals who traffic through the area and some of the incidents that have unfolded in the general vicinity. Speak to us on that, living here in this particular hotspot.”
Voice of: Miguel Alpuche
“Hmm. What can I say? We just have to pray every day. Have faith and stay strong, that’s all I can say. Have faith in God. I am still here noh.”
“The irony, however, is that it’s within proximity of the Raccoon Street Police Station.”
Voice of: Miguel Alpuche
“Exactly. And what was embarrassing and I am saying this, it’s the first media house I am telling this. When the first mobile patrol came here while I was shouting for help I asked them and they refused to help, they said they needed a description of who did the shooting and what happened before they could help. I said I have a mom, eighty-four, who got shot. We’re innocently in our living room and that was the response from the police.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.