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Sep 6, 2019

Tensions escalated in San Victor Village when two men were injured in a shooting with the police

The village of San Victor is located off the Philip Goldson Highway in the Corozal District.  Its strategic location in proximity of the Rio Hondo has converted it into a hot spot for contrabandistas who go five miles to cross the river and smuggle products from neighbouring Chetumal. Police and customs are constantly on patrol but the contraband is brisk. On Thursday, tensions escalated in the village when two men were injured in a shooting with the police. No one would come on camera, and there are two versions to the story. One is that Police shot at them because of the contraband, but their families say not so. One of the injured men is said to be visiting family and was not involved in the illegal activity. Police were everywhere in the village when Dalilia Ical arrived at the scene. Here is a report.

 

Dalila Ical, Reporting

This morning, police including Northern Regional Commander A.C.P Luis Castellanos visited the scene in San Victor Village where police are reported to have shot two men. On Thursday afternoon, around four-thirty, officers from the Anti-narcotics Unit of the Police Department were in the area and intercepted two men on this dirt road which leads to the Rio Hondo, the area where uncustomed goods are hauled almost daily. The men were allegedly smuggling merchandise. The situation escalated and officers drew their weapon and shot both men.

But what exactly happened? There are varying accounts. One version is that the men and a group of villagers aggressed the officers as they attempted to confiscate the goods, hurling missiles at the cops and their vehicle which wa damaged. Two officers were reportedly injured. The crowd allegedly became very aggressive and officers drew their weapons and fired, hitting two men.

They have been identified as Roberto Novelo, who resides at San Victor Village and Benjamin Gutierrez who lives in San Joaquin Village, also in the Corozal District. Novelo was shot in the leg and Gutierrez was shot in his buttocks.

But villagers had a different story to tell, though no one would comment on camera fearing reprisal from other villagers or the police.

One eyewitness says he was on his way back from the river side when he heard loud bangs. As he neared the crowd, he said he saw both men on the ground. A crowd of villagers who  had gathered in the area then became enraged and began attacking the group of officers and throwing objects at the black 4 Runner they were traveling in. The officers, three men and one woman, jumped into the vehicle and sped off. Villagers then took both men into the village.

Other villagers say that it was the police that became aggressive first.

We were told that Benjamin Gutierrez was taken to the Mexico for treatment. Roberto Novelo’s family said they have not seen or heard from him since the incident. His mother, who would not comment on camera, said that her son works on San Pedro Island and was only visiting to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. He was scheduled to leave the village today.


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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