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Apr 10, 2006

Belize City man murdered while buying gun

Story PictureThis weekend, the Belize Police Department found itself investigating the sixteenth murder of the year. The victim was out buying a firearm, but as News Five’s Jacqueline Godwin discovered, he soon wound up on the business end of a gun.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Police reports are that around noon on Sunday, twenty-nine year old Gilbert Phillips went into Cardinez Alley to buy a firearm when he was shot in the head. News Five understands that during the transaction, Phillips was inside his vehicle and had reached over to hand over the money. The seller was a young man dressed in full black with a black peak cap. He had the gun in his hand when suddenly he cocked the weapon, grabbed the money, and fired a single shot. Head of the Crimes Investigation Branch .A.S.P. Chester Williams, says when the officers arrived on the scene they saw Philips still in the car with a bullet wound to the left side of his head.

A.S.P. Chester Williams, Head, C.I.B.
?One single gunshot wound to the head. He was bleeding profusely inside the vehicle. BERT arrived shortly thereafter and they took him to the hospital. He was still alive, however, sometime after three p.m. yesterday afternoon we received a call from the hospital that he had passed away.?

At the site, police recovered a single nine millimetre shell. With the help of witnesses, cops soon had a suspect in custody. That person has been identified as sixteen year old Kenrick Humes. The teenager has since been charged for the murder. A.S.P. Williams says their investigation has unearthed ?business? ties between Philips and Humes. Police now believe that relationship went sour.

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?The motive apparently was robbery. They robbed him of the money that he had to do the transaction and he did not get the merchandise that he was supposed to purchase. And instead of handing over the merchandise the person took the money and shot him.?

?We have overwhelming evidence I must say. Evidence good enough to present before a court of law and surely to secure a conviction.?

Humes? arrest is not the first time that a minor has been charged for a capital crime. Tonight police say they are concerned that most murders are committed by young persons.

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?It is sad to see that during the night the street is so infested with young people walking the streets for no apparent reason. And somehow when they are detained by the police, the parent come to the station and say, oh my child is this, my child is good and whatever, and in many cases they don?t know what their child or children are doing out on the streets. But whenever they are handled by police, then that?s when they realise that they are the parent of the child; sometimes it is too late.?

At the time of the killing, Philips was in the company of two other persons: Derrick Parham, who was in the front passenger seat, and Jervon Robinson. Both men were not injured in the incident. Jacqueline Godwin for News Five.

The Phillips family disputes police reports that their son was in the neighbourhood buying a gun.

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