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Aug 18, 2017

Shooting Victim in Customs Incident Remains under Coma

Dwayne Almendarez

The family of thirty-year-old Dwayne Almendarez is demanding answers from the Belize Police Department.  The Yo Creek resident remains in an induced coma at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after being shot multiple times during an altercation involving a team of B.D.F. soldiers and customs personnel in the Orange Walk District.  The incident reportedly stemmed from a routine stop and search conducted on a passenger bus returning from La Union.  The team of officers attempted to confiscate contraband goods from the commuters, but was instead met with rocks and other projectiles.  During the melee, a warning shot was fired; however, it was not enough to deter Almendarez, who allegedly charged at the customs officer.  A Customs Officer, for fear of his life, then turned his weapon on Almendarez and fired as many as three shots, hitting him in the chest, abdomen and leg.  According to Paulette Gentle, Orange Walk police have not been forthcoming with information regarding the near-fatal shooting.


Paulette Gentle

Paulette Gentle, Sister of Shooting Victim

“What we’ve heard was that there was an altercation on a bus in Yo Creek and he was involved in an altercation on the bus and was subsequently shot by a customs officer.  That is all that we know.  In contacting the police in Orange Walk, asking questions in regards to what is going on and all that they told us is that the investigation is still fresh and nobody is in custody and that they are trying to get statements from other parties that were involved as well.  I called back again and they told me that they needed to speak with Superintendent Chi. [I] tried getting him the following day, he was not in office, they told me I needed to speak with somebody from the CIB branch in Orange Walk.  I tried that again because they said everybody from the CIB branch was out, so I called back yesterday evening.  They told me, “just a minute.”  [They] hung up the phone.  I called back again, about five minutes after that I called back and they told me, “right now.”  They put me on hold for five minutes and nobody came online until I hung up the phone because nobody is answering my calls.”


Isani Cayetano

“Can you tell us what the immediate condition of your brother is?”


Paulette Gentle

“Dwayne is currently, thank God, in a critical but stable condition.  Still yet he is in an induced coma.  He is being monitored to see if anything in terms of infection or any blood clot or anything like that is happening.  So it’s the first three days still yet.”


Isani Cayetano

“In terms of your brother being shot, one of the questions that we would want to know is whether he, himself, was armed as to a probable cause or a justification for the officer drawing his weapon and discharging.”


Paulette Gentle

“Well I don’t think he was armed.  I am sure of that because then we have a small clipping of a video that shows where it is that he was hard talking with the person, but no weapon was in his hand or anything like that. He is a person who, yes he has a short, but not for nothing, because then of course if you upset somebody, somebody is going to react.  But I could show the video, the video is a nine seconds video but it doesn’t show him with any weapon in his hand.”


Isani Cayetano

“You mentioned that this may have been a routine stop and search on the part of the customs and B.D.F. who were on patrol in that area.  Might it be that your brother may have been contra banding anything coming into the country?”


Paulette Gentle

“Well I can’t speak to that, in terms of him contrabanding anything.  I can only speak to the fact of what it is that we have heard where it is that it was a stop and search and he was on the bus as a passenger.  So I have no lead to that, I have no way to speak on that.”


Police are yet to provide additional information on their investigation of the incident.

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1 Response for “Shooting Victim in Customs Incident Remains under Coma”

  1. Liar liar says:

    You well a know wat he mi d deal how dem seh, you feel ih legal till you geh ketch n he geh ketch n neva want hand up d contraband.typical belizean.ignorant yet demanding.dats why law enforcers treat us as they do because people no longer respect them!its just a case of contrabandistas move gonr wrong.dont try to play innocent belizeans!

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