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Nov 30, 1999

Caye Caulker policeman accused of drunken shooting spree

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While Caye Caulker might be best known for the reef and relaxation, residents of the island say rum and the end of Police Week added bullets to the cool breezes. Justo Kib says he was on Caye Caulker’s Front Street late Saturday night when he met a police officer in plain clothes who told him he looked suspicious and held him by his shirt. Kib says another officer intervened on his behalf and all three agreed to go to the police station. But halfway there, Kib alleges one of the officers grabbed his neck and began choking him. Kib says he ran away because he believed the officers were drunk and he didn’t want trouble but when he met them on the street again that night, he was more than surprised at what they did.

Justo Kib, Caye Caulker Resident

“I run and the vendors there tell me keep running, they’ve got guns, they’re going to shoot after you. And then I run a little ahead and then I stop. I thought they were going to tell me stop, which they didn’t, didn’t identify themselves. They were in civilian clothes so I decide I’m going to run and that’s when I saw P.C. Chun pulling out something, pulling an object from behind him. I notice, he was in the light, that it was a gun and he started aiming it in my direction and that’s when I said, this is not a good scene and I turned around and started running. They fired the first shot, and I went zigzagging through the street and he took three shots after me.”

Kib escaped unharmed and eluded the police for the rest of the night. He claims his girlfriend and his cousin were harassed by police during their search for him that night. Kib didn’t come forward until late Sunday night when an emergency town meeting was called by the residents. Although this is the first time there has been reports about an officer actually firing shots at a civilian, Chairman of the Caye Caulker Village Council, Fermin Marin says villagers are upset since there have been other incidents involving drunken officers. Police Press Officer Christy Castillo says preliminary reports have been that officers approached Kib because he looked suspicious but when he pushed them and ran away, they fired warning shots into the air. Castillo says residents have complained about five incidents that night, including allegations of harassment made by Kib’s girlfriend and cousin, and says a full internal investigation has been launched.

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