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Jan 4, 2018

Gang Rivalry Explodes on North Side; G.S.U. Swoop Into Action

Gang violence in the city has once again exploded since the murder of well-known gang leader Leon Garcia on New Year’s Day.  On Tuesday night, a pair of gunmen shot and killed Jermain Vellos and injured his wife in what many believe is a case of mistaken identity.  On Wednesday, they struck again, shooting an elderly man in the face while looking for his son.  Police are of the view that the crimes are all related, but are yet to formally connect the dots.  Today, the Gang Suppression Unit conducted anti-gang operations in two neighborhoods on the north side to contain feuding gangs from further retaliation. In Majestic Alley, a group was rounded up and taken away by the police. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was there and files the following report.


Leon Garcia

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The stabbing death of Leon Garcia in the early hours of January first has triggered a series of incidents across Belize City that is believed to be related.  Garcia’s profile is that of a ranking member of the George Street gang.  The callousness with which he was attacked and killed by a mob of young men on New Year’s Day has resulted in reprisals that have left one man dead and two persons injured in separate occasions.  It has also sent the Belize Police Department into overdrive in a desperate attempt to stem the bloodlust.


Leon Garcia

ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City

“It is of concern of course, and reference to the first murder of Leon Garcia, the incident happened from almost in front of the Hotchandani residence on Marine Parade.  That is where the altercation began and he was pursued until about reaching behind the Retreage law firm, that is where the stabbing actually happened, the alleged stabbing of Leon Garcia actually happened.”


Since then, a fatal attack has been exacted on a husband and wife couple in the Belama Phase Two neighborhood.  On Tuesday night, Jermain Vellos and his wife Stephanie came under gunfire as they were making their way inside their home on Doris Bishop Street.  The Belizean/American laborer wasn’t the intended target, but is believed to have been the victim of mistaken identity.  Nonetheless, the standing rivalry between Majestic Alley and Victoria Street is once again playing out across the city.


ASP Alejandro Cowo

“Yes, we are aware of the tension between these two rival gangs and we are cognizant of the fact that it might be a possibility that it is linked, one to the other one.”


In response to these violent occurrences, the Gang Suppression Unit descended on the Pickstock and Majestic Alley communities today in one fell swoop.  That single, decisive and forceful action has rubbed many in Majestic Alley the wrong way.  Residents say that GSU raided their homes without as much as knocking or asking.


Voice of: Majestic Alley Resident

“Tuesday morning, we woke up about around 3:30 or 4:00.  They come and they started to search from house to house and dehn staat to tek out di young man dehn outta different house.  Some ah dehn neva wahn go because dehn noh know da weh happen and dehn staat to beat dehn with di baton dehn.  Afta dat dehn detain some ah dehn da station and afta dat di Tuesday dehn cohn and staat to do wahn search from one end ah di alley to di next end ah di alley.  Everywhere possible weh dehn could dig dehn dig and dehn noh find nothing.  Dehn proceed and dehn staat to interview di young man dehn, get dehn names, get dehn age, get dehn whateva, whateva and dehn staat to tek dehn pictures because yoh know di police dehn have wahn phone weh yoh tek pictures with.  Up to dis mawnin dehn do di same thing.  We have three different set ah police weh come een from dis mawnin through Majestic Alley cohn do di same ting.”


That increased pressure from the law enforcement agency has led to a rounding up of several young men earlier today.  They were corralled in the back of a police pickup and whisked off to the police station.


Voice of: Majestic Alley Resident

“Weh we wahn know, weh da fu we concern as wahn resident from through Majestic Alley, since this young man died New Year’s mawnin, we di get lotta harass by the police because dehn come and dehn harass di young man dehn every minute, every so often.  Dehn noh only harass dehn, dehn detain dehn forty-eight after forty-eight.  So we ask, yes we wahn di help, fu mek dehn help we with di ongoing problem but we also noh wahn dehn di harass we and di barge eena fu we house.”


On Wednesday night, there was another shooting that is said to be linked to the Majestic Alley/Victoria Street beef.  That incident has left fifty-nine-year-old Charles Foreman injured with a gunshot wound to the face.


ASP Alejandro Cowo

“This incident happened at number nine Pickstock Street.  Yes, we were able to determine that there might be a possibility as the Foreman that was involved in this shooting last night might be a relative to the other victims that we are looking at in the previous murder and family members.”


As it stands, police are on high alert for any eventuality, despite ongoing efforts to mediate between the warring parties. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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4 Responses for “Gang Rivalry Explodes on North Side; G.S.U. Swoop Into Action”

  1. Eye in the Sky says:

    Welcome to Belize.

    Come one and come all from the USA and beyond and come to DIE in the jewel.

  2. Marwaione says:

    Yes, if the family members won’t help police fight crime, let female drag them out of the house and beat their A$$, let them feel a little pain, for the stupidness they cause.

  3. Truth says:

    What a shame and disgrace… Police protecting the menace of society who contribute nothing positive to our daily lives.

    how can you guys be so ill minded and dumb.

    Do your jobs and get rid of them for good .. not scatter then around the country..

  4. spike says:

    Bring back the British.

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