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Oct 22, 2019

Brandon Bennett is Killed and Dumped Near Vista del Mar

Brandon Bennett

Even before the stabbing death in Caye Caulker, a Belize City man, well-known to the law, was found dead at the entrance of Vista del Mar on the Phillip Goldson Highway. Twenty-six-year-old Brandon Bennett was executed and his body left on the roadside after seven o’clock.  Hours before his execution, Bennett was active online, clad with the very same clothes in which he was killed.  Several weeks ago, he was charged for gang affiliation. Police are now grappling with the possibility that the murder is the result of gang activity. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Twenty-six-year-old Brandon Bennett was executed sometime after seven p.m. on Monday and his body was dumped along this stretch of road near the entrance to Vista del Mar.  All that remains of the crime scene today is dried blood.  Investigators have retrieved from the location several expended shells that were found around Bennett’s body.  He had been shot in the head and left to be discovered by passersby.  His grieving mother declined comment, but mentor Diane Finnegan spoke of her interaction with Bennett through the Youth Apprenticeship Programe.


On the Phone: Dianne Finnegan, Coordinator, Youth Apprenticeship Programme

“If you would ever have had any kind of conversation with Brandon, you would know that he is not the kind of individual that belongs in that circle.  You would find out, you would discover that he is a young man who had so much dreams and aspirations, who wants something for himself, a better life, but no one is seeing who he really is and so he joins forces with what is comfortable.”


And what he may have thought to be comfortable ultimately led Bennett down a path where he associated freely with known Belize City gangs.  That involvement landed him a charge on September sixth, when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Tricia Pitts-Anderson where he was arraigned on a single charge of being a gang member.


On the Phone: Dianne Finnegan

“For me to say he has had several brushes with gang affiliates, I’d instantly say no because I haven’t been put in a position where I would have to say, “You know what, Brandon is in a fight with this one or Brandon is in a war with that one.”  I think he is more that joiner than an individual who is violent, who is full of this bitter rage.”


Shortly before eight o’clock on Monday night, Ladyville police were summoned to an area along Vista del Mar Boulevard where someone had reported to them moments earlier that a body was seen lying motionless on the road in a pool of blood.  When the responding officers arrived at the location, they observed an individual clad in a grey t-shirt and light blue three-quarter jeans.  He was wearing a black fitted cap with the letter R embroidered on it.  It is the very outfit he was wearing when he last appeared active on his Whatsapp account at 3:54 p.m. that same day.


On the Phone: Dianne Finnegan

“I don’t know what could have happened.  You know, this morning when my secretary Tanya, who is a past apprentice herself, sent me that message, I had to go on Facebook, I had to call different people, I had to find out whether this is real, you know.  It’s just a sad, sad bit of information that I could have received on a day like today.”


The incident harkens back to March 3rd, 2017 when Bennett was shot while riding a bicycle on BelCan Bridge.  He was reportedly en route to a training RET International when he was targeted by a gunman who shot him in the abdomen.


On the Phone: Dianne Finnegan

“I remember calling him back in 2017 to do a training at RET International, that’s behind BIM and I guess you may recall that was when he got shot riding his bicycle across the BelCan Bridge, noh.”


Bennett, according to Finnegan, was looking for a way out having been fined for the charge that was levied upon him recently.  She told News Five via phone that the former apprentice was considering a move to the United States.


On the Phone: Dianne Finnegan

“That was a part of the conversation we had and why he wanted to get that visa and leave the country and his disappointment in what was taking place now because they just grabbed them up and charged them and put them behind bars.”


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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