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Dec 6, 1999

Young woman dies in weekend shooting

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Three people were inside a house in Belize City at midnight on Saturday when the gun went off killing a young woman. The two witnesses, one of them her boyfriend, say it was an accident or maybe even suicide. But Tanya Gardiner’s family and friends aren’t buying the story. While police won’t comment on the case, Gardiner’s boyfriend Mark August is being questioned. News Five visited the scene of the incident today.

A few drops of blood still stain the steps of Tanya Gardiner’s house at number forty-four seventy Haulze Street in the St. Martin De Porres area. The twenty year old girl who worked as an electrician at Associated Engineering Services died early Sunday morning from a gunshot wound to the forehead. According to Erwin Aldana, a next door neighbor, he was standing by his gate when he heard a shot ring out. Aldana said moments later Ediline Lord and Gardiner’s live in boyfriend, Mark August came running outside.

Erwin Aldana, Neighbor

“But then when I heard that I did not pay it any mind until when I see Ediline Lord coming, running over here and she said boy, Tanya shot herself so I think it was a joke. Then a little after that Mark came out running and he throw himself on the street and start rolling about and said my girl shot herself, “my gyal shot herself and I love that gyal and I never expect she would have done this.”"

According to police, August told them that earlier that night, Gardiner had been playing with a sixteen gauge sawed-off shot gun and pointed it at him several times. August said after telling his girlfriend to stop, he says he began to read a book on mechanics. He claims when he looked up from the book, Tanya was pointing the gun to her forehead. August told police before he could do anything, the gun went off.

Q: “When you heard that Tanya was playing with this gun, did it come as a surprise to you?”

Erwin Aldana

“Yes, because the way I saw Tanya she was not that kind of a person; she mostly kept to herself. She would go to work, come home. She was mostly into her music, a person mostly into her music.”

Q: “So why do you think she picked up the gun and started playing with it?”

Erwin Aldana

“I say the way how I get it, you know I heard from friends that it has to do with jealousy between her boyfriend and the girl Ediline Lord.”

Q: “Did anybody see her playing with the gun?”

Erwin Aldana

“Well Ediline Lord, when she came out of the house, yes she tell me they were playing with the gun and she told them to stop playing with the gun somebody will get shot. And Tanya was the one who had the gun and she was pointing the gun at Mark. The way how we get it from Ediline that she was pointing it at the boy saying that she would shoot him but he took it as a joke.”

However, Gardiner’s family does not believe Tanya was playing with a gun, nor that she shot herself. Her aunt Betty Wright, said she had had reports that August allegedly threatened Tanya.

Betty Wright, Aunt

“Earlier that night according to what I understand she was by her grandmother on Tigris Street right, and they had dinner together and when time to go home, Tanya was arguing with the boy telling him she would leave him. And the boy told her point blank right out there on Tigris Street if she left him, he would kill her, that nobody else would have her. When they get home, the grandmother said Tanya tried calling her, all she heard was Tanya’s voice on the phone about eleven thirty, “Gran, Gran” and the phone gone off.

Tanya was a very nice, cool person. She was so nice, so quiet, so cool and I am not saying that because she is my niece but you know the boy was really taking an advantage of her, really chancing her, take her money away and beat her and do a lot of things to her. And she promise me, just last week promise me, “Betty, I will leave the boy.”"

This afternoon Mark August was still detained by police but C.I.B. will not say if they are treating the case as a murder. Tanya Gardiner was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital immediately following the shooting but died around three a.m. on Sunday. Mark August has been charged with possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.

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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