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Jan 27, 2003

Corozal is scene of year’s first murder

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It only dawned on us about a week ago that the year 2003 had been remarkably quiet when it came to violent crime. There were assorted shootings to be sure, but none had proved fatal. Until Friday night that is, when around eleven o’clock the nation registered its first murder of the year. As News 5′s Jacqueline Woods discovered, that grim statistic cannot begin to describe one family’s pain.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Two days after forty-two year old Fernando Domingo Arjonilla was gunned down in front of his friend in Corozal Town, the well-known Belize City mechanic was buried following a funeral service at St. Ignatius Church. According to stepfather Sandy Cabral, Arjonilla, who had his business at the corner of Raccoon and Curassow streets, went to Corozal on Friday to help his friend, thirty-eight year old Peter Giankandani, repair a vehicle.

Sandy Cabral, Stepfather

“He really didn’t have any enemies up to that kind of respect for somebody to kill ah. Maybe just a little hard talk with people, the businesspeople them. Otherwise, no problem.”

But two men seem to have had a problem with Arjonilla, also known as Dawson, when he tried to stop them from beating up Giankandani during a hold up. According to police press officer, G. Michael Reid, the incident unfolded after 11:00 on Friday night in front of the Indian businessman’s house.

G. Michael Reid, Police Press Officer

“We understand that he was getting out of the vehicle when they were approached by two male persons, both armed with guns. They demanded money, and the complainant then handed over fifty dollars, which he claimed was all he had. The assailants, not satisfied or not believing him, then proceeded to assault him. He hollered for help and the other person came to his aid, the other person being this gentleman known as Dawson. And upon coming to his aid, shots were fired and at least one shot hit this guy in the chest.”

The bullet caught Arjonilla in his upper right shoulder and then ricocheted to his face. Cabral says his stepson–a former policeman–always tried to help those in need, and that’s exactly what he was doing when he was murdered.

Sandy Cabral

“I didn’t really believe it, I had to make two or three calls back to the person who called me to really find out if it was true. Until in the morning around 3:00, then I went to Corozal to see for myself then I realized that my stepson had died.”

“He had a very good personality in that form, because he helped with a lot of jobs for people in taxi affairs. And he also assisted the police with the tow truck.”

Reid says Corozal police are looking for their two suspects.

G. Michael Reid

“We had detained one person, could not have been positively identified, so we are still following up on trying to find out who the culprits are.”

Jacqueline Woods

“That one suspect, is he still detained?”

G. Michael Reid

“No, he has been released, and so we are now pursuing other leads and hopefully somebody else might come forward that saw what occurred.”

Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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