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Mar 3, 2014

Wild Wild West in Burrell Boom; Belize City man shot

While PC Romero remains hospitalized at the Northern Regional Hospital with multiple stab wounds, in Burrell Boom, a Belize City man was more fortunate despite a volley of bullets unleashed in his direction. Giovanni Berry was asleep inside a newly built house in a remote area of the village when a group of villagers looking for robbers opened fire and riddled the house with upwards of sixty rounds. For a moment, it appeared like a reply of the Wild Wild West, but Berry was lucky to have dodged the bullets and was hit only once to the left side of his face. He says it was a vigilante group, but the police say they are residents who can be called upon to assist with crime. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before dawn on Saturday, a horrifying ordeal unfolded and by daybreak, Giovanni Berry was admitted to the hospital after he was shot once to the left side of the face. Berry, who is originally from Belize City, was working on a newly built house and had decided to overnight. He recounted what happened.

 

Giovanni Berry, Shooting Victim

“I was working at a house at Boom. This is a job that I had been working, ongoing for a month. I was there doing some final painting on the premise, so I said I was gonna stay the night, because I live in Belize City, and then just complete the task so I did.  About three-thirty, I started to hear activity outside. It was like vehicle revving up and down; people having fun on a Friday night, but then it transpired into lights shining and spotting all over the place.  I decided to leave that alone and went back to sleep. So I was sleeping and probably about an hour later, I started to hear ruckus outside. That ruckus included banging at the door and people shouting I know you’re in there, get the eff out, we wah come fi yo. The bathroom window was open and I saw a light spot through the bathroom window. And the same time I saw the spot of the light, I saw a flash—like a mussel flash from a gun—then I heard the gunshot and then I felt the bullet straight through my jaw. I dint know at the time the damage. So I rolled probably about three or four feet from that area behind a wall to protect myself and then I started to call nine-one-one.”

 

Berry says he took out his licensed point thirty-eight weapon and fired a single shot towards the window; it hit the bathroom wall. This was followed by a barrage of bullets from what he calls a vigilante group.

 

Giovanni Berry

“There was shot guns out there, nine millimeter and a whole barrage of different calibers…all firing into the building because the guys, I am saying now, spot me thought I was a burglar that they were chasing or something like that. It wasn’t officers there; it was vigilante group; that’s what I call them. It was all villagers; that’s what I was made to understand. It was all villagers firing and acting indiscriminately. There was a return fire, a reactive fire from me when I got shot.”

 

Rural Executive Officer, Assistant Superintendent Christopher Noble, says that the shooting is in response to a string of burglaries and robberies in the area earlier on Saturday morning. A group of residents, who would normal assist police, were searching for the culprits when the shooting occurred.

 

Christopher Noble

ASP Christopher Noble, Rural Executive Officer, Police Department

“Residents of the area who were affected by a burglary and other residents who assisted ended up at a residence there and from what transpired we do know that persons with licensed firearms we believed fired their weapons and one person was injured.  We burglaries, we did know of one at the time, the one burglary, persons were in their residence when someone came in and they did lose an item. That item at this time we do know was a firearm, a pistol to be exact, and this is why residents, who are normally good supporters of the police, came out to assist the police.”

 

According to one resident in the neighborhood, the experience was surreal, almost like a Wild, Wild West flick. She says she heard as the search team combed the area and up to fifty gun blasts thereafter. She too has been left traumatized by the incident.

 

Voice of: Boom Resident

“There was two different burglaries. They entered into one house and didn’t steal; they went into another house and stole a gun. When they were coming out of the yard, as I understand, one of the residents shot one of them. They made good their escape knocking on people’s door asking for help. They even stole my sheet off my line. As a resident I feel very violated. After that there was a search for these burglars. With this search there was a siege of gunfire.”

 

According to Berry, it was not until almost a half an hour after that the police arrived and he opened the door.

 

Giovanni Berry

Giovanni Berry

“So what happened was that the nine-one-one operator called the officer in charge, I think it was a female, called her and gave her my number and she called me and said we are outside now. We are the police and we are outside come out. That’s when I stepped outside with gun in hand and they instructed me to put it on the ground.”

 

ASP Christopher Noble

“At this time, we do know that bicycles that were recovered are being reported as stolen by the owners. So in essence there is two burglaries and two bicycles being stolen.  We do believe that persons acted in consult to commit all the offense; however, we do not believe that the person at the house may have played a role in that.”

 

Information received is that one of the burglars was in fact shot to the back as he escaped with the stolen gun, but that person has not been found nor has his accomplice been located. Duane Moody for News Five.

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4 Responses for “Wild Wild West in Burrell Boom; Belize City man shot”

  1. Eric says:

    Though this is a very unfortunate case I cannot help but think that this is a sign that people are fed up with the crime situation in Belize and their community and are now taking a stand. It was misguided vigilantism but I can’t help but sympathize with the villagers for wanting to push back against crime. This in a sense should be a wakeup call to all communities to unite and take a stand against crime but with the lesson learnt (by this case) that restraint should be first and foremost. It would be counterproductive to shoot first and ask questions later. The bottom line however is that bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing and we as a people have to realize that the reality is such that law and order must be upheld by each and every one of us. We are a people that have been too accustomed to everything being spoon fed to us as if we were children but we should never sit around and wait for the authorities to guarantee our personal safety for no one can care about us but ourselves.

  2. RedBwai says:

    Belize needs more residents like these because the law and police arent serving their purpose. There have been one too many burglaries in Boom and nothing has comes of any of it..Residents are tired and frustrated hence the result of them becoming vigilantes….this should serve as a warning to others in the village who think they can steal from hard working people…

  3. Lord LOL says:

    Vigilante justice!

  4. Giowills says:

    These idiots needs to punish it will not end until they are brought to justice period.

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