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Sep 30, 2020

An Attempted Robbery of a Coastguard Vessel Leads to Shootout

Just before daybreak today, two persons attempted to steal a coastguard vessel from where it was moored at the BelCan Bridge in Belize City near a joint posting of Belize Coast Guard personnel and police officers at the substation. Alert officers soon realised what was happening and came up on the robbery in progress.  One of the culprits was spotted waiting in a boat on the Haulover Creek across from the San Cas Compound while another with the naval vessel in-tow swam towards the getaway boat. The responding Coast Guard officers were soon met with gunfire and a shootout ensued. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the culprit in the boat escaped. Operations Officer, Lieutenant Kenrick Thomas shares a report of what happened.


Kenrick Thomas

Lt. Kenrick Thomas, Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard

“The Belize Coast Guard continues to support the Belize Police Department with a joint operation inside the Haulover Creek. The patrol that was assigned to this duty, this riverine operation, was secured alongside the substation near the BelCan Bridge. This morning at about 4:10, whilst doing their regular checks on the vessel because of the rain, at regular intervals I must say, they noticed the vessel wasn’t there. Immediately after, these officers started combing the area in search of this vessel. They came across one individual who was in the water swimming away with the Coast Guard vessel, heading towards Save U.  The officers then made their way over to conduct their intercept. Once they got near Save U, they noticed a second person inside a vessel that was centre of the creek awaiting the arrival of that person in the water and the vessel of course. As standard operating procedures, the Coast Guard officers then followed the use of force continuum; I am talking about officers’ presence and also verbal command and consequences. When doing so, the person that was inside the vessel opened fire at the Coast Guard personnel. In return, the officers took cover and returned fire. There was an exchange of fire, however, there was no injuries caused to members on both ends. It is a coastguard vessel and it was assigned to our patrol; it is an eighteen footer and this vessel is always used and rotated with another inside this riverine operation.”


Duane Moody

“The crossfire could have or the bullets could have caught someone on the other end; could have caught one of your officers, could have caught the driver of the vessel that fled. The concerns there….”


Lt. Kenrick Thomas

“With proper training, the officers took cover—one that was for their own safety and also then observed the nature of the threat and then return fire in response of what was occurring. In relation to the shots fired by the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard officers are trained.  However, if they wanted to make a hit, they could have, but they only wanted to decapitate this vessel and have the culprit surrender.”

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