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Mar 27, 2001

Child wounded as gunmen spray bullets

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There is a school of thought in certain circles that says all the gang type violence in Belize City really isn’t so tragic because it’s just criminals killing each other, a type of extreme population control for the underclass. But even if one accepts this twisted logic, events on Monday night demonstrate that flying bullets can hit more than just gang boys. Ann-Marie Williams reports.

Ann-Marie Williams

“This was the scene of a shooting spree some time after 5:00 p.m. yesterday, which left an innocent ten year old boy in a serious condition and two gunmen on the run.”

Eyewitnesses say a pair of trigger-happy men wearing ski masks were in hot pursuit of one Anthony Adderley and started shooting after him from this barbershop on Vernon Street.

When Adderley ran into Locke’s Alley, the gunmen were right on his heels says eyewitness Ismail Shabazz who was watching television form the relative safety of his home.

Ismail Shabazz, Eyewitness

“My attention was drawn to the shooting. When I looked outside over the verandah, I saw the two men with black ski masks and short pants. They were shooting, bam, bam, a lot of bullets were flying. After that, they moved out, walked back through the alley to the street and they ran towards the bakery.”

But, not before ten-year-old Julian White was accidentally shot in the chest.

Ann-Marie Williams

“This is where Julian lives. He was on his way to this house, his grandmother’s, carrying a box of chicks when a bullet in the chest forced him to drop the box and run.”

His grandmother, Helen Locke, heard the shots from where she was in the kitchen.

Helen Locke, Julian’s Mother

“I heard the gunshots, lots of shots. I asked where the children were, that’s gunshots. All the other bigger boys and girls were here and everybody started bawling where the kids were. I came out and the first thing I said was “Where’s Julian.” I knew that he went across when my son-in-law went over there. When he went, he said he met Julian crouched under the stairs inside the house and he said, “I got shot.” They picked him up, and that is when I knew he got hurt. They picked him up and took him to the car.”

And he was off to the hospital. That was around the same time that Julian’s father, Charles Norman White, was hurrying home, only to find a crowd of people at his alley.

Charles Norman White, Julian’s Father

“One of my friends came up to me and told me my son got shot. So I immediately went to a police vehicle that I saw at the lane and asked them to take me to where he was because they told me had been taken to the hospital in a vehicle. When I got there, I found him in the emergency unit receiving treatment. The doctor told me the bullet had punctured his lung and his liver and other internal organs.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But he was still conscious at the time I was told.”

Charles Norman White

“Yes. He was trying to speak to me, but they told him not to talk because the talking cause the wound to bleed more.”

“I was devastated. I don’t know what happened to my bike, I knew I was on my bike, but I don’t know what I did with it. I just dropped the bike and ran. I just wanted to reach where he was. After that I just felt helpless because there was nothing I could do to, just look at him there suffering.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“It was broad daylight, did it ever cross your mind that something like that would happen?”

Charles Norman White

“Never. Never. Actually we live off the main street and this is the last place I thought something like that would ever happen. He was taking his two chickens to his grandmother in a box. The box had the bullet holes in it where the shot went through the box and hit him.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“That where he usually waits for you until you come from work?”

Charles Norman White

“Yes. He normally waits across at my mothers, who is about a stone’s throw away.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Are you hoping that he’ll be okay?”

Charles Norman White

“I am praying. I know God answered my prayers because one of the main things I was praying for was that his spine wasn’t injured and so far that hasn’t happened, he is okay. He is out of danger. He is recuperating well according to Coleman.”

He operated on Julian for hours last night and is today being assisted by Dr. Raquel Rogers who took over Julian’s case.

Dr. Raquel Rogers, Medical Officer

“Julian was in very serious condition. He had a gunshot, which penetrated the chest and abdomen. Emergency surgery was performed immediately.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“What is his condition now, and what’s the prognosis?”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Presently his condition is very serious. He received injury to the liver, stomach, spleen and to the left kidney. Since he’s young, he’s expected to do well, but at the same time the prognosis is guarded since he is in very serious condition.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“But you’re hopeful that in the end all will be well.”

Dr. Raquel Rogers

“Yes. We are very hopeful.”

And while Julian is hospitalised, White says he’s happy that his nephew who was playing on his car had gone home just a few minutes before the spray of bullets.

Charles Norman White

“Dylon Moguel was on the car playing and his father came and took him off and took him. I think it was just about three minutes after that the guys… I heard the guys came around the lane and started firing. The bullets went through the windshield and exited through the back window shattering it. Apparently those same bullets went through and hit the clothes and the neighbour’s house to the back. Then other shots hit the house as well, damaging the post and the bike seat, and also to the front of the house where the doorbell is, here’s some bullet holes there.”

And eyewitness who almost got caught in the line of fire, fears for her life, but is fed up with the growing climate of violence. She tells her story anyway.

Eyewitness

“I stayed by my gate. I was going to the shop and I saw them run back through my alley and gone. When I was by the gate, he said, “You shut your mouth”, and he pointed the gun at me.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“In your face? Where did he point the gun?”

Eyewitness

“He was on the street and I was by my gate and he said, “Shut your mouth.” Then he ran through the alley with a mask on their face. They had a warm cap over the face and the nose, mouth and eyes you can see. I recognised one of them.”

“When they saw the boy with the gun, people behind and people in front of the gun, they said, “Get out of the way.” It was really a disaster yesterday.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Cars were coming?”

Eyewitness

“No just people and children getting out of the area. Shop closing down, bakery closing down, the Chinese grocery closing down when they heard about the gun. It was like popshots when I heard it first and I stopped by my verandah, I saw the actual gun coming through the alley.”

Anthony Adderley, the alleged target of the shooting, was questioned and released by police. C.I.B. officers say that they are searching for two suspects. Members of the Humane Society should note that the chicks being carried in Julian’s carton box survived the ordeal in good health.

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