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Apr 26, 2007

Cops revisit house … and this time find gun

Story PictureLast week we ran a story following up on a murder investigation in which a Belize City family complained that overzealous police ransacked their home in search of a weapon that wasn’t there. This morning police returned to the house on Arlington Drive … with a different result.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Belize City police are trying to determine if this nine millimetre pistol was involved in the shooting death of fifteen year old Jomo Lamb. According to the Officer in Charge of the Crimes Investigation Branch, Superintendent Chester Williams, they are certain that the weapon has been used to commit a number of shootings and robberies.

According to Williams, it is this gun the police were looking for when they searched the Matura residence last week Friday. At that time, family members not only claimed that the police found nothing inside their house but that the police also ransacked and destroyed household items. Around six this morning however, police returned to number seventeen Arlington Drive and this time they did not leave empty handed.

Supt. Chester Williams, Officer in Charge, C.I.B.
“Upon the officers’ arrival at the home, upon entering the house, one Delroy Matura was observed near the window with a black handgun in his hand. He was subsequently held by the police and the firearm was retrieved from his hands. It is this black Compact brand nine millimetre pistol. The magazine was loaded with fifteen live rounds of nine millimetre and a further search of the house resulted in the discovery of ten other nine millimetre rounds inside the house.”

Three of the rounds were found inside Delroy Matura’s pockets and the other bullets were found in the living room.

Supt. Chester Williams
“When we visited the house when the complaint was made to the media we had received information that the firearm was there. However information is very funny, an item can be somewhere at a particular moment and within seconds it can be gone. Fortunately for us when we went after having received information again, we were successful in locating the firearm. So while I would say yes we believe the firearm was there the first time, probably it was not inside the house, but probably outside hidden until when it was needed to be used.”

At the residence, police arrested relatives twenty-one year old Delroy Matura and twenty-four year old Joseph Matura, seventeen year old Julian Willoughby, and two minors. The trio has been charged for Keeping Ammunition Without a License. Delroy Matura has been additionally charged for Keeping a Firearm. Police strongly believe the weapon is stolen property, but because the serial number has been removed, it will be difficult to trace. Police say there is good reason why the young suspects did not try to get rid of the evidence although they were aware that the police were looking for the gun.

Supt. Chester Williams
“Because of the lifestyle these people are living, the fear allows them to sleep with the firearm with them and that is the reason why we decided to give them an early morning visit this morning and it proved successful.”

“Well the involvement in criminal activities, the shootings, the robberies. They are potential targets, they have enemies and so they ensure that they keep the firearm on them in the event that they are attacked by their enemies.”

Police would not comment on whether the fifteen year old minor who was detained on Friday is one of the teens back in their custody.

Supt. Chester Williams
“We have two robberies which occurred yesterday. The profile of these persons fit the description given by the robbery victims. We are about to conduct an identification parade in relation to both robberies. The firearm also fit the description of the firearm mentioned by the robbery victims as being the weapon of choice used in the commission of these robberies. So we are looking at those two robberies yesterday and others.”

“We are also looking at the possibility that it was involved in the murder likewise. So we will be sending it to the ballistic expert to do the necessary ballistic examination on the firearm to see which crime scene we can tie it to.”

So while police are not sure if the gun is also evidence in the Jomo Lamb murder case, the only link they have so far to the killing is that the suspects are associates of Kareem Francis, the person police have charged with the homicide. Williams would not comment on whether the deceased was also acquainted with the young men.

Supt. Chester Williams
“I still stand that my officers were quite justified in the way they acted when they went to the Matura residence in the first instance when they made the complaint. As I mentioned before I did not see any infraction done on the part of the officers who went there. They simply were doing their job, looking for a firearm which we believe is involved in a murder and other shootings. Whenever officers go to a house and encounter hostility, then they must do whatever they need to do in order to overcome whatever hostile situation that they may encounter.”

Police still do not know why Jomo Lamb was killed.

Sources tell News Five that one of the young men arrested today, seventeen year old Julian Willoughby, was recently released from prison following a ruling of lack of evidence on a charge of murder of four year old Oscar Velasquez in 2005. The young boy was found strangled and locked inside a refrigerator situated in an abandoned house on Antelope Street. Young Velasquez had been missing for several days before the gruesome discovery was made. The two robberies referred to by Chester Williams occurred Wednesday afternoon on Cemetery Road.

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