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Sep 3, 2018

Fitzroy Yearwood Comes Under Attack. Was the Shooting Friendly Fire?

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood is a former press officer of the police department. He is a well-known for being outspoken and at times for going against the grain of the department.  Over the weekend, news spread like wildfire that there was an attempt on his life.  But who shot at him? The inspector says he came under attack as he drove his vehicle toward the Yarborough Bridge; along with him were two children. He also alleges that the gunfire came from the Mobile Interdiction Team. While the police admit Yearwood’s vehicle was damaged, they are dispelling any notion that it was the MIT.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood has had his share of run-ins with the Belize Police Department.  Those disagreements were always of a verbal nature, but an incident on Sunday afternoon during which he came under gunfire while driving a private vehicle with a pair of minors, is raising serious concerns.  According to the fellow officer, his compact SUV was fired upon by personnel from the Mobile Interdiction Team as he drove towards the Yarborough Bridge from Queen Charlotte Street.

 

Fitzroy Yearwood

Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood, Alleges M.I.T. Shot at Him

“I heard a single bang, a blast.  I realized that my right rear passenger glass was shot.  So a little more on the bridge I came to a halt and when I halted, the glass shattered inside.  Now, I drove over the bridge and parked by the area where they usually, the vendors are usually selling their fish and I checked on the two boys that were with me, they were seated on the backseat.  I checked that they were okay.  One was screaming, so I immediately drove off towards their home, dropped them off and I went to Euphrates Police Station to make a report.  By the time the inspector that was in charge and I arrived back on the Yarborough Bridge, the MIT pickup that was parked near the Thurton’s residence was already gone.”

 

Yearwood asserts that the single gunshot came from the direction where the MIT vehicle was idling.  His colleagues in law enforcement openly question that account.

 

Alejandro Cowo

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

“Mr. Fitzroy Yearwood, police officer, reported that he was driving his Mazda Tribute on Yarborough Road and upon reaching an area by the bridge, he heard a loud bang and then he realized that the gypsy window of his Mazda Tribute was shattered.  Police went and checked in the area, however, no shell was found there.  The vehicle was processed and indeed it had what appears to be a bullet hole.”

 

The round that was fired at the vehicle entered the right passenger side near the backseat and exited the opposite side window, shattering sheets of tempered glass on both sides of the vehicle.  Investigators say that they cannot determine where the bullet came from.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“That is something that we still do not know.”

 

Reporter

“Well the Acting ComPol has said that, he has said on record that it is not the MIT, not police elements and that it is an act of mischief.  Just di seh weh he seh.”

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“That’s why I say that we up to now cannot establish who shot Mr. Yearwood’s vehicle.”

 

Reporter

“But the Acting ComPol has concluded who did not shoot Mr. Yearwood’s vehicle.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“Well, yes. He said that.”

 

Despite refuting Yearwood’s claim that he came under friendly-fire from members of the MIT, the brass of the department has reportedly attempted to alter the sequence of events in what transpired.

 

Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood

“My thing is, they are alleging that they didn’t fire a shot.  They didn’t fire a shot, you heard it, a vehicle was hit, what is your duty as a police out there?  To make checks on that person.  They claim that they were responding to a shooting that took place something that took place like ten minutes after my vehicle was hit on Pen Road.  Common sense would tell you that either they neglected their duty or they were negligent in the use of the firearm that was in their possession.  I spoke to Deputy Commissioner Williams yesterday where he took me back on the scene, where he was trying to convince me that in fact the bullet entered the opposite direction.  It is obvious that he went out there in a defensive mode and not in a mode to hear what really took place because he was forcing me to believe that I did not hear what I heard.”

 

Lead investigator, Assistant Superintendent Alejandro Cowo says that there is no evidence to support the assertion made against the MIT.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“That is an allegation that he had brought, that he suspects it was them, but the investigation is still going out.  So far there is nothing to indicate that it is any member of the MIT who were parked at that location.”

 

Yearwood says that making an allegation such as this against his colleagues is not beneficial to him, despite their differences.

 

Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood

“I do not have anything to gain by making a report where I believe that a threat was made on my life and an attempt was made on my life and the two children that were in my care at the time.  I take the word mischief very seriously because if you misuse it, people tend to go away with the wrong idea.  I had nothing to gain, I was just driving past.  I do not know how you could be mischievous in just driving your vehicle, your personal vehicle, minding your own business, trying to conduct your own business and your vehicle is hit.  I do not care about the damages to my vehicle; three lives could have been lost.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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