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Sep 11, 2013

Family of slain cop says footage of killing is missing

Dean Yearwood

Police continue to investigate the killing of Dean Yearwood Junior, the cop who was shot in back by another police officer in the early hours of Sunday morning. And from some accounts, there are discrepancies in the official version of the shooting. The Yearwood family is contending that the same weapon used in the shooting of the officer, was used to shoot the assailant who pounced on Yearwood in an attempt to rob him. There is also a claim of missing footage in the video that captured the shooting. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has that story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An autopsy conducted on the body of twenty-four-year-old Dean Yearwood Jr., slain by a fellow officer during an incident on Sunday morning in which he was shot once to the back, confirms that he died as a result of massive blood loss due to an internal hemorrhage.  The recently transferred police constable was in the vicinity of Publics Supermarket on Central American Boulevard when he was attacked by a pair of men.  Tragically, he was killed by another off duty cop who was responding to the scene of the mayhem.


Voice of: Aunt of Deceased

“The post mortem indicated that he bled to death.  He died from exsanguination.  So he literally bled to death there on the ground.  He was shot in the back.  There is no exit wound at the front but we are certain that when the bullet entered his back it ricocheted off his bone in the back and it punctured his heart and so he literally stayed there and bled to death.  So it caused internal and external damages.”


Details of the deadly shooting have been recounted from the perspective of police constable Glen Wayne Grant in a statement provided to the Belize Police Department.  Surveillance footage, recorded via closed-circuit television from a pair of video cameras mounted on the outer walls of the adjacent building, is also being reviewed.


Voice of: Aunt of Deceased

“They are saying that because it is an internal matter that the police are investigating and that is a part of the evidence so they are keeping it.  Speaking to the officer who is in charge of the investigation at the morgue, we were made to understand certain things that were a part of that video and we were also made to understand that there are some seconds, some twenty seconds of that video, that are missing.  So it only shows him walking, holding his cell phone in his hand texting, approaching the junction and then he lifts his head up because something catches his attention when he gets to that junction.”


That is when Yearwood was presumably pounced upon by twenty-one-year-old Brian Vasquez and an unknown accomplice.  Responding to shots fired, PC Grant drew his service weapon and let loose a fusillade of as many as eleven rounds.  The family contends that neither victims presented a direct threat on the life of the responding officer since they were both injured from behind.


Kevin Yearwood

Kevin Yearwood, Uncle of Deceased

“If my nephew mi get shot front way and when I gaan da di morgue I raise up ih shirt and I sih he get shot front way I neva mi wah seh nothing because yo know di first thing weh cohn to my mind da da officer mi di defend fi he self because my nephew haul wah gun and look fi kill he so boss, yo haffi defend yohself, yo noh fool.  I noh mih wahn seh nothing but back way you shoot ahn.”


Yearwood’s aunt, who speaks under the condition of anonymity, says that her nephew and his would-be robber were both hit by PC Grant during what appears to have been an indiscriminate shooting.


Glen Grant

Voice of: Aunt of Deceased

“This morning we were made to understand that, an even in death we can still, you know, have some dignity to say that he, even in death, he [Dean Yearwood Jr.] had the presence of mind, based on the information that was given this morning, that he did not, because the bullet found in the person that was shot, the alleged robber, was not from his weapon.  Accounts from that night say that my nephew fired four shots in the air.  So even [while] being robbed you have the presence of mind to not shoot the person that is in front of you but fire four warning shots in the air.  And I thought that was all a part of protocol.”


Ironically, those procedures, rules of engagement as they are formally known, were completely foregone by the responding officer.


Kevin Yearwood

“So I di call and I ask di prime minister please get help fi yo police department.  Give dehn training [so] that when something like this happen dehn could shoot di person eena ih foot fi slow ahn down.”


While the Ministry of Health, through the police department, has offered Grant therapy, the same has not been done for the family of his slain colleague.  His siblings, according to the aunt, are having a hard time accepting what has happened.


Voice of: Aunt of Deceased

“Nobody from the police department or the Ministry of Health has contacted our family in that respect to offer counseling to any of us, none of the relatives, not the siblings, nobody and that is very, very disheartening because we are talking about, I mean I’m an adult.  Some of us are adults in the family but we are dealing with a lot of children in our family and these children are children that were very close, extremely close.  So you’re dealing with a situation where the children are crying, every time we sit the children are crying, they are asking, the little brother, the seven-year-old keeps asking his mom, “mom, when will Dean come home?  Why is my brother in that place?  Why is he in that freezer?  Will he get up?  I want him to wake up.”  These are some of the things that you have to deal with.  So you are dealing with children who are traumatized.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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