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Jan 25, 2018

San Pedro Gang Rivalry Spreads to City as Simon Velasquez is Murdered

Simon Velasquez

There is another murder to report tonight and many believe that the brazen execution of Simon Velasquez on Plues Street this afternoon may be related to the ongoing spate of gun violence in San Pedro.  Velasquez was reportedly attacked by three men here in Belize City and in attempting to defend himself shots were fired in his direction.  The hail of bullets sent residents and bystanders scrambling for cover.  Velasquez tried to outrun the gunman, but lost his life when he was fatally injured in the back.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on the scene of the shooting and has the following story.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The gang-related violence that has bloodied the dusty streets of San Pedro is seemingly spilling over into the crime ridden neighborhoods of Belize City, where it is believed that the ongoing rivalry has its roots.  Sometime after one o’clock this afternoon, a barrage of gunshots rang out in the vicinity of Plues Street, a short distance from West Canal.  When the shooting subsided, twenty-three-year-old Simon Velasquez lay dead inside the lower flat of a three-storey building that he ran into while being pursued by his attackers.  According to residents, Velasquez was attempting to ward off a trio of men who accosted him near Bishop Street.  The altercation led to a foot chase and subsequent gunfire.  Velasquez, who was living in San Pedro and had just returned to the city, was shot once in the back as he tried to escape from his assailants.  But the young man would not make it very far.  Upon rounding the corner into Plues Street, he scampered into a bicycle repair shop and collapsed on the floor, while its owner was inside the bathroom.  When he emerged to see what the ruckus was about, he observed the Velasquez in a prostrate position.  Wasting no time, he too fled the building in fear of his life.  Moments later, police responded to the scene of the shooting where they found Velasquez’s motionless body.  The murder of the San Pedrano comes just two days after the shooting death of Paul Jex who was executed on the island on Tuesday evening.  While a connection has not been established between the two incidents, it is known that Jex was an affiliate of the George Street Gang, on whose turf Velasquez was killed earlier today.  In an interview with Belize City police on Wednesday, Assistant Superintendent Alejandro Cowo commented briefly on the ongoing feud in respect of Jex’s murder.

 

Duane Moody

“It’s preliminary, but what kind of motive could have led to this?”

 

Alejandro Cowo

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

“Well we suspect that it is a rivalry between the two gangs there in San Pedro.”

 

Reporter

“Do police have concerns that there may be retaliation in regards to Mister Jex’s murder in San Pedro?”

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“Yes, we do believe that there may retaliation that’s why police are there. The police presence is high in the San Pedrito area and the San Juan area where these are the areas where both these persons used to frequent.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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