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Apr 24, 2018

Cold-Blooded Shooting in Dangriga Scares Kids, Jamaican Community

Patrick Crossdale

A horrific execution occurred while some students were enjoying recess at a Dangriga school leaving both teachers and pupils traumatized.  A gunman emerged from the bushes near the Gulisi Primary School and unleashed a volley of bullets on Jamaican national Patrick Crossdale who was riding past on motorcycle heading to his house. Fifty-five-year-old Crossdale was hit on the back and thigh. He was placed in a taxi and transported to the Southern Regional Hospital, but expired. Word in the community is that Crossdale’s execution is in retaliation for the death of another Jamaican national in February in the village of Sarawee, also in southern Belize. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was in Dangriga and has the following report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Classes here at Gulisi Community Primary School were canceled for the remainder of the day, after students and teachers had witnessed the daylight execution of a resident who lived just a stone’s throw away.  A handful of kids were playing in the school yard during recess when a lone gunman emerged from the nearby bushes and opened fire on fifty-five-year-old Patrick Crossdale, as he rode his motorcycle towards the George Price Highway.  The Jamaican national was struck twice when a hail of bullets was unleashed in his direction.  His roommate, fellow countryman Courtney Jackson, was conversing with the school principal when the sound of gunfire erupted.

 

Courtney Jackson

Courtney Jackson, Friend of Deceased

“I was in the school speaking to the principal and Mr. Crossdale ride in, but where I sat I could see him from where I sat down.  He went inside the house and he took out something, jumped back pan the bike and he was riding out.  But when he reached at the side to come over this side of the school, then I couldn‘t see him anymore.  Then I heard five gunshots ring out and the principal said, “Jesus Christ! Where are gunshots coming from around there?”  But when I ran out and ran around there, I only saw the back of the shooter.  But when I ran towards the bush I did not have anything so I had to turn back or else I would have run after him, even if I had a machete I would have run after him.”

 

Among the children who were out on break at the time of the shooting was a Standard One student. He recounts off-camera what he saw when the shooting began.

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“All I saw when I was in break, I saw that the man was going full speed on his motor [bike] and I heard some gunshots and right there I saw the man drop on the floor and all the teachers went crowding to the man.  And then they called a taxi man, the taxi man come pick dehn up.”

 

According to Jackson, the feud within the local Jamaican community goes back to the tragic mishap involving Humphrey Mitchell, a resident of Sarawee Village who reportedly leapt to his death from the pan of a police pickup back in late-February.  Since then, threats have been made against Crossdale and himself, by rivals who strongly believe that both men had a hand in Mitchell’s demise.  This morning’s deadly attack, says Jackson, was a hit being carried out on Crossdale.

 

Humphrey Mitchell

Courtney Jackson

“This thing is stemming from the Jamaicans them around here, because even when my friend was riding from out of town, they have a Jamaican up there that‘s running a bicycle shop [he] called somebody and told them that the man just passed, and same time the man came to the house riding out back.  It‘s just that he rode up into.  But these Jamaicans around here, I don‘t know the problem with them against us, but they don‘t like us and they are just fighting us for nothing, I don‘t know why, I don‘t know.  The last incident [involving] the Jamaican that jumped off the police vehicle and got killed, they claimed that I paid the police to kill the guy.  I don‘t know anything about that because the guy did, we had a case going on.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“This is Humphrey Mitchell?”

 

Courtney Jackson

“Yes, and several times Humphrey tried to get to me and told me to drop the case and he wanted to pay me, but I said I don‘t want his money, it‘s better we thrash it out through the court.  Now Humphrey died and when Humphrey‘s sisters they came down to bury Humphrey, the Jew Boy who sold the food, along with Chicken, told his sisters that they must not worry themselves, they‘re going to take care of the two of us, they will make sure they kill the two of us, no matter what it takes.  So I don‘t know, all I know is that that deh soh it ah come from.”

 

The lethal spray of bullets has traumatized the student body, as well as the faculty and staff of the Gulisi. Not only are they shaken up by the frightening experience, they also fear for their safety.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now I understand that most of you guys who were on break and evem the other students who were inside the classroom at the time were frightened and traumatized.  Did they send you guys home, what happened at that point?”

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“We all got frightened and we only ran.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“They gave you guys the rest of the afternoon off?”

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“Yes sir.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How far away from around here do you live?”

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“Right back deh soh.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“So you were nowhere far from home when you saw this incident near your school?”

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“Yes sir.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How do you feel, I mean you’re a young boy and you witnessed something like this happening?  How do you feel, is it the first time you’ve seen something like this?  Are you scared or frightened to come back to school?”

 

Voice of: Eyewitness

“Yes sir.”

 

Courtney Jackson

“The teachers them at the Standard Six and the kids, all of them were bawling and shouting and said, “see the shooter there, see the shooter there.”  They saw the shooter and the kids they said, even when the police came the kids they said the shooter is in the grass, he wasn‘t gone and the police were afraid to go in the grass.  But the police were scared, they said they weren‘t going there.  So it was afterwards that they sent for backup and said they wanted the rifle and when the rifle came, they said they were going down by where the Spanish guys were building the house, the guys they said it was one man and the man just passed and went [in that direction.]  But I understand that the car was over by the main road waiting for the guy and a red car picked him up.”

 

Jackson, who lives immediately behind the compound adjacent to the Joseph Chatoyer monument, believes his life is also in danger and had appealed to the police department to intervene in the rivalry before it came to a head.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Do you fear for your safety?”

 

Courtney Jackson

“Very much, very much.  I have to fear right now because of what‘s going on, because it‘s not like I‘ve done anything to anyone.  And then I reported this thing at the police station three times you know and they ignored it, especially a police lady who told me that they can‘t work based on hearsay.  Nobody did anything to me, so they can‘t work off of that.  Even the detective corporal just sent to the inspector, he said it‘s true that I came there and reported and he brought us into a meeting and nobody did nothing about it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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