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Dec 31, 2002

Father of 2 gunned down; cop held for questioning

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The echo of gunshots rang out in the Buttonwood Bay neighbourhood late Monday night, and in the eerie silence that followed, one family would find their loved one bleeding on the ground. Tonight, his attackers are still on the run. News 5′s Marion Ali reports.

Elia Pennil, Sister of Deceased

“My neighbour just come and say hurry go dah Friendship because something wrong with my brother, right. So I gone and when I gone, I see ah pan the ground.”

Marion Ali, Reporting

The person on the ground was thirty-two year old Albert Pennil of Dolphin Drive, Buttonwood Bay area of Belize City. News 5 understands that Pennil was a regular patron of Friendship Restaurant at mile two and a half Northern Highway. But according to police, at around 10:30 on Monday night a still unidentified gunman shot Pennil several times at close range. One bullet struck Pennil in the head.

Sources tell us an argument erupted in the restaurant’s parking lot between the occupants of two vehicles…a physical fight ensued. Pennil decided to intervene and the parted the combatants. Those men left the area, but Pennil remained at the restaurant. It was a decision that cost him his life. A short while later, a masked man emerged from behind the building armed with a hand gun and started shooting. The gunman ran a short distance up the highway and jumped into a getaway car.

Police have yet to charge anyone in connection with last night’s murder. However they have detained three people including police constable, Kevin Alvarez, also known as Cowboy, whose vehicle was reportedly seen in the area soon after the incident.

Police are being tight-lipped about the officer’s involvement in the crime.

G. Michael Reid, Police Press Officer

“So far I can tell you we have three people detained. Yes, I can tell you that one is a police officer, but I certainly am not at liberty to release any names. We cannot release names until a person is charged. So far none of these suspects have been charged. This investigation is in the initial stage and there’s really not much that can be released as far as names of people and who are involved.”

According to police, they are seeking several other people for questioning and are appealing to eyewitness to come forward with any information about this case. The grisly crime has left the Pennil family in shock.

Elia Pennil

“He no look fu trouble, right, he cool. You would have to do him something to let he try talk back to yu and tell yu back off. Before any violence or anything like that he’d try walk away.”

Marion Ali for News 5.

Albert Pennil leaves behind two children: a two month old baby and a seven year old. News 5 understands that Police Constable Kevin “Cowboy” Alvarez was discharged from the Police Department in November 2001 because of repeated complaints from the public about his conduct. But according to G. Michael Reid, Alvarez was rehired by the police earlier this year.

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