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Feb 4, 2019

Murder in the City; Shawn Hemmans is Gunned Down

Shawn Hemmans

Three days into February, the first murder happened on Saint Thomas Street in Belize City.  Tour guide thirty-three-year-old Shawn Hemmans was shot as many as eleven times as he walked down the steps of a house, where he had gone to watch the Super Bowl. Hemmans was rushed to the hospital, but succumbed as he was prepped for surgery.  While police do not know if he was the intended target, the house has been searched before by police looking for drugs. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

As Shawn Hemmans stepped outside this house on Saint Thomas Street where he and another person were watching the Super Bowl, someone would call out to him. Midway down the flight of stairs, a gunman would unleash a barrage of bullets in his direction. His sister says he was hit about eleven times and died shortly after while being prepared for surgery at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.


Voice of: Natalie Hemmans, Sister of Deceased

“I had a pain in my hand and I di try figure out where the pain di come from so I say might as well just sleep it off, not knowing that maybe that would have been a sign that something tragic like this mi wah happen. And then he said, mommy answer yo phone. And then all I heard his dad saying Natalie come; dehn shoot Shawn pan the veranda. He say he mi think dah fireworks di happen, but dah no fireworks; dah gunshot on the veranda. From what I understand, Shawn mi strong enough fi try with all the shots—he was strong enough to still try get up, but at the hospital, ih neva make it.”


Shawn was the fourth born of seven siblings; Natalie is the eldest sister.  Earlier this afternoon, police shared details on the shooting death of the thirty-three-year-old. Assistant Superintendent Alejandro Cowo says that it has not been established whether the deceased was the intended target.


Alejandro Cowo

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

“As he went down the stairs, people heard a variety of shots being fired. Later on, a male person who was along with him inside of the house came out and found him with several gunshot wounds. He was transported to the hospital, however, he succumbed to his injuries later on that night.  It is a house that has been searched several times by police and it is of concern by police because several persons of different characters have been frequenting that area. At this time, we cannot tell you if Mister Hemmans was the intended target or not, but there were only two persons inside of the house; he and another person.”


A motive has not been established for the crime. Today, police and the family say that the beloved tour guide was not caught up in the criminal justice system.


ASP Alejandro Cowo

“We don’t have nothing in regards to Mister Hemmans. We know him to be a person that likes to socialise. He frequents many establishments, but a person that is involved in any illegal activities; no we have any records to say that.”


Shawn Hemmans

Voice of: Natalie Hemmans

“I could attest to that that Shawn was a loving person; Shawn wasn’t in any gang. I am his oldest sister. Shawn was not affiliated with any gang. They heng out pan Saint Thomas Street. Saint Thomas, King’s Park people…there is no gang in King’s Park—noh weh I know about. I just honestly feel like dehn hurt my breda fi no reason. Maybe I think, maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whoever pushed that door and came out, they would have been shot too. The way fi we ma raise we, noh mess with people or ketch ina no problem. He neva really tell me anything about somebody want do he something, somebody wah hurt he, oh watch this man, watch that man…lookout. This, that and that…nothing like that. Shawn was a person from work to home. Shawn was a tour guide and he loved his job.”


Even as the family continues to make preparations to lay Shawn to rest, they remain confused as to who would want to kill their loved one and why.


Shawn Hemmans

Voice of: Natalie Hemmans

“I noh see the reason. I noh know. I want somebody tell me why? How? How yo bring ahn back? Weh yo do? Like this crime, this violence, people missing; Shawn dead. I watch news every night and I look pan people, but I never even known that this day woulda mi come when ih reach my door.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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