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Mar 27, 2009

16 year old murdered; 4 gun shots to the head

Story PictureIn the deadly and dangerous streets of Belize City, another person’s life was cut short. This time, it is a minor who months ago had a quick brush in the grenade explosion on Mayflower Street. The sixteen year old was confined to a wheelchair for some time but last night he ran out of luck. Jose Sanchez reports.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Sometime after ten on Thursday night, sixteen year old Sharife Smith was murdered. Another sixteen year old known as Harris who was riding with him on Ground Dove Street said that a man approached them and shot Smith in the face. And according to Harris, even after that gunshot on the face, he and Smith both ran in separate directions. Family members from Mayflower Street say that Smith could not be found so they went looking for him.

Cousin of Sharife Smith
“The time I get up is about minutes to four, but dehn done get up like bout one and gone search and come back. Minutes to four den I get up and mek we walk down di boulevard ketch wah taxi right. And dah so when all ah we get up, we jump eena wah police vehicle. Bout seven, eight ah we jump eena wah police and dehn ker we back ah Jane Usher. Wah young man, he come out and he start to help we. He gone by—wah dread man. He gone and when time he get up… he seh afta di banging he get up but he neva si nothing right and dah so he ker we mek we end up di gone and mek we end up di look. Di bally weh di bally reach yah so, way up to ih neck, dah so he find ah, you understand me.”

His body was found in the middle of a bushy lot on Jabaroo Street, off Jane Usher Boulevard. He had four gunshot wounds to the left side of his head. Sharife Smith had recently recovered from injuries he received during the May eighteenth, 2008 grenade explosion on Mayflower Street.

Jose Sanchez
“How badly was he injured from the grenade explosion?”

Cousin of Sharife Smith
“Ih get like seventy-two holes, yoh understand me. Spend eena wheelchair like three months but I thank to the father right, ih alive but now ih gone. Ih lost and forgotten, you understand me.”

The Mayflower area is where the Conscious Youth Development Program director met Sharife and worked with him to change his lifestyle.

Edward Broaster, C.Y.D.P.
“We have been working with him and his mother Marsha Smith to try and develop him to be productive and also to get him back in school.”

Jose Sanchez
“What sort of programs you had him involved in?

Edward Broaster
“We had him involved in conflict resolution and management skills training, lifeskills developmental training and the last program that he was involved with us is the mediation program in Toledo where we had mediation between him and another group of young men.”

Jose Sanchez
“So is it safe to say he is a tough kid with a troubled past?”

Edward Broaster
“He was a troubled youth, yes. For a little while it looked as if though he was trying to make that turn but I guess given the environment he was in, he didn’t have the positive support that was needed to keep him going and to make that complete change.”

Marsha Smith, Mother, Sharife Smith
“Well, I know I love him. Ih mek mi happy, ih mek mi sad some days cause ih noh listen but… honestly to God, I’d never swear fi ah. So, like I seh, I noh know weh happen but mi son ih dah mi wah good boy. I think dah God choice. If dah even gun or bullet, whatever ketch ah and I know dah shot, dehn shot ah, dah god work. He tek ah fi wah reason; probably ih mi di stress mi too much which in I doubt because thanks to C.Y.D.P. dehn did wah good job wid ah wid my help, di family; everybody try talk to ah and ih straighten up wah lot. I never believe dis mi wah happen but especially dat ih slow down, ih happen so I can’t vex.”

Jose Sanchez
“You have other kids to look out for?”

Marsha Smith
“Yes, but like I seh I lef it to God, di police dehn, I hope dehn do dehn job and no lotta excitement and scenery because we noh into den deh and di family dah wah strong family. So I’m hurt, I’m crying, but I’m smiling and God know weh he do probably dah di best thing. So I wah contninue go dah mi lee church and do mi lee mischievous act but I wah enjoy mi life so yoh know what, God be with us all.”

Jose Sanchez
“The young man who was with him at the time of his death or shooting, was in one of the programs?”

Edward Broaster
“The young man that was with him also was being engaged with regards to conflict resolution and mediating different conflicts that they both had with other groups, yes.”

Jose Sanchez
“Were they from the same set or lived in rival areas?”

Edward Broaster
“Well, they lived in different communities but they became friends with each other, I can say that.”

Sharife Smith’s friend has been detained by the police for possession of an unlicensed firearm; a nine millimeter caliber gun which had no bullets in its clip. This afternoon police recovered a nine millimeter shell at the scene. The youth is now a suspect in the murder.

Edward Broaster
“We are doing our own investigation as well because we need to know if there is any other group involved and we need to stem off any retaliation that may occur from this incident. I can say that the violence being perpetrated at this time is being done by younger persons; juveniles. We’re going to have a juvenile summit pretty soon to address the matter of juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime. If we don’t address it we would be continuing to circle around a ring and recycling young teens to other offenders and we need to stop the cycle.”

Marsha Smith
“Mothers, like if I never seh dis earlier, I wah seh dis now. I never know this is the way unnu feel when unnu lose unnu son at gun point. But now dat I feel di pain unnu feel mothers, we still have to kneel down and pray and get together and stop this. It could stop.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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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1 Response for “16 year old murdered; 4 gun shots to the head”

  1. tori kelly says:

    i am a close cousin of sharife jahlenny smith it hurts me to see his death went by so easily and nothing came out off it. I taught the police had enough evidence on his so called friend harris. harris went to prison for 3 months an came out running loose probably committing more crimes, belize police system is a disgrace to its country many are loosing love ones and nothing is comming out of the cases. justice keep turning down families an it makes absolutely no sense the police system needs to be develop an needs to take their jobs more seriously.. YOU ARE LETTING DOWN YOUR COUNTRY so the crimes won’t stop we need justice we are begging for justice and i swear on my life i will re-open this case so the killer better pray that he is dead before i do because i promise to make him spend life behind bars … i love my country but its terrible they are taking lives open your eyes imagine how you would feel if a love one is taking from you????

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