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Jun 12, 2017

Cotton Tree’s Omar Barahona Shot 7 Times, But Who Was the Real Target?

Omar Barahona Jr.

Just days before his departure from his home village of Cotton Tree, a twenty-one year old popular resident was shot and killed. Omar Barahona Junior was at a family get-together when he was murdered. Omar was along with his cousin and Devon Brooks when he was targeted by a fourth person. But even as seven shots made its mark on his body, was Omar the intended target?  Brooks, who is well-known to the law, was recently charged for the attempted murder of a taxi man in Belmopan; he has also been a suspect in multiple robbers in the west. Police say he is not cooperating with the investigation. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

A few days before he was to depart Belize for a job opportunity, twenty-one year old Omar Barahona Junior was killed. The Cotton Tree resident was shot seven times as he stood at the corner of his aunt’s house on Saturday night – about two hundred yards from his home. Omar and a cousin were standing to back of the house near the street when twenty-year-old Devon Brooks walked up and started to talk with them. A short while after another man appeared.

 

Omar Barahona Sr., Father of Murder Victim

“It’s just someone came from the opposite side of where they were standing and just came over to them. I don’t know if he just opened fire but according to what I understand, the same guy who killed him went there. It was three of them that were standing, he went there and he told them ‘weh the happen, yah?’. My friend respond back and say ‘ weh yuh si weh di happen?’”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now he was standing there with another person, do you believe that Omar was the intended target or this other young man that was there with him?”

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

Omar Barahona Sr.

“I believe it was the other person because he and his cousin was standing and the other guy just came up and they know each other so they were just talking. I don’t think it was my son because he is not the kinda person involved in those things.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did Omar ever indicate to the family that someone threatened his life?”

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

“Never. As far as I know, all the twenty-one years that we are together no one really come and tell me that my son is giving them a hard time anywhere.”

 

A well-liked member of the community, Omar Junior was socializing with family and friends at a going away party in his honor when the killer took his life just before eleven Saturday night. The past few weeks were some of the happiest for the twenty-one-year-old who was looking forward to work abroad.

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

“They were having a little get together for him because he got a job in the States that he is supposed to go on the seventeenth, which is next week and they told him that they would have a little barbecue and thing, so they were just there enjoying themselves, having fun when the other guy came up and they were talking and after that they started the gun fire.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“This other person who fired the shots – who killed your son – is he familiar to your family? Do you guys know him?”

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

“No. We don’t know who it was.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“No one didn’t see anyone riding away or running away from the scene?”

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

“They saw the person and they saw when the person do the shooting, but they never recognized the person.”

 

Devon Brooks

It is believed the bullets were meant for Devon Brooks. He was hit only once to the leg. He is no stranger to the law. Belmopan Police are tight-lipped on circumstances that led to this deadly shooting. But we received allegations that the uneven sharing of valuables netted in a recent heist is what triggered the attempt Devon’s life. At present he is not cooperating with the Police; Belmopan Police say, however, that they know who they are looking for, but it appears the suspect is in hiding.

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, O.C., Belmopan Police

“A person walked up to them and fired the shots that injured Devon Brooks and killed Mister Barahona.”

 

Howell Gillett

Andrea Polanco

“So, there wasn’t any sort of exchange in terms of someone saying something to other person?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Well, a few words might have been said but not enough to have scared them off to go away. It was that quick – not much speaking before the shooting began. I believe we have a good understanding of what transpired that night and our investigators continue to do their part to bring closure to this case. I believe if this suspect that I alluded to earlier, if he is brought in to our custody, we will have a better understanding of what occurred on Saturday night.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, so, again, Omar was not the intended target?”

 

Omar Barahona Jr.

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Well, it is our opinion that he wasn’t the intended target; and I would leave it just as that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“The person that you are looking for – is this person from the village; is he known to police?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“The person, I wouldn’t, to keep the investigation flowing and without giving too much information, the person is known to the police.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you believe he is hiding at this time?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“We do believe that because we have gone to his normal places of residence and we have not been able to get him so far.”

 

And for this Cotton Tree family, they are trying to cope with the fond memories of their only son.  Barahona Senior says he has forgiven the killer.

 

Omar Barahona Sr.

“He was fun with the kids. When he is with the family having fun, he is like the comedian around the crowd. He wasn’t a person that give trouble. He was a nice son.  I only have one son and one daughter. And it is like a part of us – it is really hard when we go into the house, especially at night.  If the police would find him and say that is my son’s killer, I will visit him at the prison and I will tell him personally that I forgive him for what he has done.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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