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May 5, 2017

In Belize City, Dangriga Boy Killed on Elston Kerr Street

There was a murder in the Old Capital on Thursday night, leaving many to wonder whether the fragile ceasefire brokered among the various gangs has once again unraveled.  The victim recently returned to Belize City after spending his childhood in Dangriga.  That homecoming has been short-lived, as a gunman approached Michael Bonilla, who was riding along Elston Kerr Street, an opened fire, killing him on the spot.  The deadly shooting took place after nine o’clock.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Nineteen-year-old Michael Bonilla was killed on Thursday night in an area of Belize City that is widely known for gang activity.  He was dispatched in a shower of bullets while riding his bicycle along Elston Kerr Street, immediately behind Gwen Lizarraga High School.   His cousin had just seen him at her residence on Antelope Street moments earlier.

 

Michael Bonilla

Voice of: Cousin of Deceased

“Di last time I sih ahn was last night right before he died.  He was here talking to us, chilling with my bro, and after that I went to go to the store to buy something and when I came back, well on my way coming back, they called me and told me that he got shot.  I was hoping that he hadn’t died.  And when I reached at the scene, I looked and I saw him down on the ground.”

 

Residents recall hearing a barrage of gunshots and upon responding to the scene of the shooting, found Bonilla bleeding profusely on top of his bicycle.

 

Alejandro Cowo

ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B.

“Sometime after nine last night, Thursday, May fourth, police responded to a shooting incident at Elston Kerr Street, where upon arrival they saw a male person lying on top of his bicycle.  Upon inspection of the body, police observed several gunshot wounds to the person’s body and also several expended shells were found at the scene.  Whilst the scene was being processed, a family member came in and identified the person as Michael Bonilla, a nineteen-year-old of a Jane Usher Boulevard address in Belize City.”

 

Bonilla’s relative, who has requested anonymity for this interview, says he was struck as many as three times by bullets that were fired in his direction.

 

Voice of: Cousin of Deceased

“According to the officers, they said he took three: two in the back and one in the chest.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now this is an individual who, for some time, was living outside of Belize City.  Can you talk to us a bit about what brought him back to Belize City, if you know, and whether or not he had any personal issue with anybody in this area?”

 

Voice of: Cousin of Deceased

“I don’t think he had any personal issues because when he came back, like I said, he’s originally from Belize, so I guess that’s what made him came back because he misses the city so much.  He just came back to see what was going on.  But not for long because they just took him.”

 

Why they took him is anyone’s guess at the moment.  Friends and family attest that he wasn’t involved with any of the various elements in the neighborhood, so his death, in their opinion, is not gang-related.  Belize City police are of a similar point of view.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“Apparently he had just moved to Belize City about a month or a month and a half and he was staying with some family member by the Jane Usher area. So far our investigation has shown us that it is not gang-related and up to now we have verified several information that we have that the person was living in the Jane Usher area and he was not affiliated with any of the gangs that we know here in Belize City.”

 

One person has been detained in connection with the latest murder. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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