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Jun 18, 2013

Murdered in his home on Sibun Street

Delone Vernon

A young man who had turned his life around was shot and killed on Monday night. Until he was murdered, Delone Vernon was an employee of Youth for the Future. On Monday night, he was at his Sibun Street house with his in-laws when the gunman burst inside and unleashed several gunshots which caught Vernon on his abdomen. Vernon was scheduled to testify in an upcoming trial and it is believed that he was killed to prevent that from happening. Duane Moody reports.

 

Delone Vernon [I am Belize Profile 2011, Restore Belize]

“I grow up back a WASA, most people know it as PIV from I was about two years old. And dehn time when I mi younger, that was the whole feel and center of the gangbang world weh yo woulda mi call bloods between PIV and Back-a-Town. Back-a-Town dah di next side of civic, PIV dah mi behind WASA. And most people from back-a-town woulda come heng dah PIV and everybody woulda crowd up right dah the bridge right weh part my family live. we live right around the bridge area weh all di gang bangers dehn heng out. So dah noh like something weh you woulda neva wah fit ina. Dah just something weh grow up right deh—you grow up right in front of it; ih deh right there. You goh dah school, yo come back; yo meet everything di same way.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A resident of a gang invested neighborhood, Delone Vernon became influenced by his surroundings which eventually landed him in the Belize Central Prison for four years. Imprisonment triggered a change within the youth and he turned his life around. He exited the gates of the prison a man determined to change his life…and by all accounts, he did. He went back to school and acquired employment as an office assistant at Youth For the Future. But on October twelfth, 2012, Vernon was the victim of a shooting while on his way to work.

 

Kirk Augustus

Kirk Augustus, Manager, Violence Reduction Unit, Y.F.F. [File: October 12th, 2012]

“He basically plays a role in taking out correspondents, bringing back correspondents to the office. And he relieves the night security in the morning. So this morning when he was coming in to relieve the night security; that’s when the incident took place. At the department of Youth services, it really affects us because we try our best to live as a family and when you find that something like this happens, the whole entire department feels it and feel down. So this morning it was really a go slow because we know Delone from 2008 when he came on board; didn’t have a diploma, but they gave him a job as the office assistant. He went back to school and get his GD through the night school at Gwen Liz.”

 

Luckily, he survived that attempt on his life… But around nine on Monday night, the thirty-one year old lost his life after he was shot to the right upper abdomen. He along with his in-laws were at their Sibun Street house on the upper flat socializing when a gunman ran into the house and opened fire on the group. Both Vernon and his sister-in-law, thirty-two year old Sherna Miller, were shot.

 

Voice of: Dorla Williams, Mother-in-Law of Murder Victim

“I tell my son-in-law open the door fi make my lee bredda could come and get ih tea. My son-in-law opened the door, my bredda come in. so I get up and I get my bredda tea for ahn and everything.  I hear di dog di grumble dah back deh. So I say ina my mind, I hope dha noh di gunman dehn come back. So by the time I coulda mi doen say that, I lay down ina my bed and I hear bang bang bang. When I listen, my bredda knock my room door. Ih say Dorla, Dorla. I say what? Open yo door. So I open the door and he run ina my room. Ih say gunman deh ina yo house up the steps the shoot…the shoot dehn one up the step.  When I open the door dah because my daughter di run down the step. And ih say Dor, Sherna get shoot and Delone get shoot and Delone look like ih done dead already. I said Jesus Christ, how Sherna? Ih say Sherna get it ina ih foot and ih hand. I say god, please noh make mi daughter dead.”

 

The police arrived shortly on the scene and rushed both Vernon and Miller to the K.H.M.H.; unfortunately Vernon died moments later. But Williams believes the tragic event could have been averted because police were notified on Sunday of a related shooting at the Sibun Street residence.

 

Voice of: Dorla Williams

“When I gone dah Chetumal for the weekend and I get dah Corozal, I phoned my daughter and I said Sherns, I want yo buy some medication for me weh I need. She respond back to me, she said Dors we can’t goh soh because gunman come shoot up Sunday morning at five o’clock. No police noh come. I say unu noh call? Ih say yes so much of us call and no police noh come. I say okay, give me the shell, I wah call dehn. I call dehn and dehn tell me wait, we wah come right now. I wait like half an hour and dehn noh come. I call them back again and dehn say we on our way, we are coming. When dehn get yah I said I call unu from five o’clock mi daughter say dehn di call unu because wah shooting…three bwai come and di shoot up yah. I say see the shells here, but I woulda really want unu hold this person.”

 

The same person Williams is referring to is who the family claims was the hitman in the killing on Monday night. And police are looking for a Belize City man known to them for this recent homicide.

In the wake of the tragedy, however, the dreams and goals of Delone Vernon have been shattered by violence….a life he once knew and turned his back to.

 

Delone Vernon

“When I see I walked through that gate after my counseling and people behind me from outta di prison, I step outta dah walls and I say hear what; this is it now. And from then I start take a new step ina my life. Right now weh I di head ina my life is like a new place, a new me…everything; only that I used the other little things in my life to help upgrade me. But right now where I di head for, I expect I wah be this persons weh part ina five years time, I wah have my own counseling group…I wah make my own change ina Belize.”

 

The change which the father of two believes is needed in Belize… is love.  Duane Moody for News Five.

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