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Aug 31, 2012

3 brothers and a friend shot by cop in Alta Vista

In the south, three brothers and a friend were injured in a stand-off with the police in Alta Vista on the Hummingbird Highway on Thursday night. It started on the road and ended in a violent confrontation at the house of the Castellanos brothers. Isidoro Castellanos is in critical condition while his two brothers and a friend were shot to various parts of their lower body and have been treated and released into the custody of the Dangriga police.  They are likely to be charged. The family is disputing the police version of the events and tonight investigations are underway.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

What began as a high speed chase along the Hummingbird Highway, in the vicinity of Alta Vista sometime on Thursday night, has resulted in a series of investigations being conducted by the Professional Standards Branch of the Belize Police Department.  The bloodstained entrance to this residence in Alta Vista, a village several miles outside of Dangriga Town, is the vestige of an altercation between a team of police officers and the Castellanos brothers.

 

A.S.P. Mark Stevens, Deputy Officer Commanding Dangriga Police

“The officers were returning from checking into a report in the Valley Community area and upon reaching mile fifteen and a half, thereabout, they encountered a vehicle that was swerving in the middle of the road.  It was a black Toyota single cab pickup. They moved in behind the vehicle, put on their lights and I believe the individuals who were in the vehicle, realizing that the police was behind them, they sped off and ran into an off-road area.”

 

That pursuit led the officers here, where they alighted their vehicle and confronted siblings Erasmo, Lucero and Isidiro Castellanos and their friend Roberto Neal.  According to their sister, who spoke off-camera, the group of men were returning from purchasing alcohol since they were socializing at the residence.

 

Voice of: Victims’ Sister

“Three of the policemen walked in the yard, approached my brother that was by his vehicle.  He approached my brother in an aggressive way, not in a polite way that I guess an officer should have approached a human being.  He approached my brother in an aggressive way, talking to him and shoving him up and asking him all kinds of certain questions in one way.”

 

The officers then conducted a search of one of the men which yielded approximately two thousand dollars in cash.  That officer, identified as PC Kareem Fuller, then informed him that he was confiscating the money, believed to be the proceeds of illicit activity.

 

Mark Stevens

A.S.P. Mark Stevens

“They mentioned to the officers that they were not going to arrest them tonight or else the officers would have to kill them out there tonight. So the officers realized then that the situation was escalating out of control. They decided to check and see if the guys had any firearm so they went and search the room of the driver and they didn’t find anything incriminating. However, a search of the driver turned up something like nineteen hundred and fifty-five dollars in cash in denominations of fives, tens, twenties, and fifties and another ten twenty-dollar bills. So the officers informed them that they are going to withhold the money.”

 

Victim’s Sister

Voice of: Victim’s Sister

“In an aggressive way, the same cop—I don’t know his name and I’m trying to find out his name—in an aggressive way he told my brother, I will take you to the station. You need to go with us. My brother said for what? I don’t have anything against the law. He said because of the money. My brother explained to him about the money; he doesn’t want to hear about that. He said you need to go—people shouldn’t have this amount of money with them. My younger brother intervened now with the conversation and said, “In the Constitution, there is a law that someone can have over five thousand dollars with them and that ain’t a problem or that ain’t no illegal action.”

 

According to police however, one of the siblings wielding a machete then aggressed the officers and that’s when shots were fired.

 

Kareem Fuller

A.S.P. Mark Stevens

“One of the individuals from out of the crowd later step forward and he was holding a machete and he had the machete above his head when he approached the officer and he stepped forward in a menacing posture and it was P.C. Fuller who told him to stop. He refused to stop. he advised him to stop or else he is going to shoot him, but the guy did not heed to the command, he kept on advancing and after he reached a distance that was becoming unsafe, P.C. Fuller fired two shots. He indicated that he pointed his serviced pistol towards the lower part of the man who was advancing body—trying to hit his feet. The guy fell and when the family members say that, they got more agitated and they started shouting to the police that they have just shot their brother, their family so they would have to kill all of them now.”

 

That account has been refuted by members of the Castellanos family, who witnessed what transpired in front of their home.

 

Voice of: Victim’s Sister

“Shots were fired when the friends of my brothers intervened and said that you can’t take my friend to the prison or to jail because you didn’t find anything illegal in the property in a whole. That was when the police got more aggressive and stared to say shut up before I slap you with this flash light in your face; don’t say anything; move away from here; you don’t belong in this situation and all of that he started to tell the guy and referring to my brother as well. That is when my little brother got more upset and he started to act a little aggressive with the police man. Well, the police man grabbed my brother that had the money from by his shirt and tell him I will take you with me. He said no, I refuse to go. My younger brother intervened and said you will not take my brother. That is when a little argument started—nothing big, but hard talking you would say. And the police get more aggressive and he said again I will slap you in your face with this flash light; get out of this, move away. My brother didn’t move, he stayed right there and continued saying you will not take my brother away. Well the police said if you don’t move, I will shoot you. My brother jumped to conclusion and said shoot me then; shoot me if you can.”

 

Immediately following the shooting the officers left and members of the family say they returned shortly afterwards pleading with them to transport the injured men to the hospital.  According to the sister they refused because they thought the officers intended to kill her brothers. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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6 Responses for “3 brothers and a friend shot by cop in Alta Vista”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    We are the victims of poorly trained police officers who as they stated ” believed ” the money was illegal, so they confiscated it. What stupidity!! Anyone can believe anything but that doesn’t make it right nor legal. Our poorly trained officers can’t even write a good simple sentence and they are entrusted to make judgment call on life or death. Does the Belize Constitution restrict one as to how much money one can possess on one’s person? If that is so , then truly we still are physical and mental slaves and we should just return the keys of so called indpendence to the English slavemasters and be content with our slave huts, slave schools and slavery. have the slaves kill the slaves. In this way we perpetuate the existing system in Belize.

  2. now i see says:

    Very good job with the police. They were resisting arest. Apart from that the minute a police patrol signals you to stop you have to stop. They run away because they were drunk. More in favor of the police. People like these brothers belong in jail. They also have to prove where the money came from. I bet something with drugs. Good job police.!!!

  3. belizean, says:

    it will be nice to know the truth..
    but why for 2000.??
    i don’t understand
    mean we cannot walk on the street again with money?

  4. color conscious says:

    racism in Belize, if hispanic plice officers had shot creole men the story would have been TEN TIMES bigger

  5. ratty says:

    2k,s…couple of bucks. is that against the law? WOW!

  6. Sharon says:

    Wow, I’m looking for property in this area. I will carry some money w me. I have to hire contractors and such. Will that be a bad area? I’m sick of the United States, but I do have and carry large amounts of money. Want to spend it in your fine country. Bad idea????

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