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Jul 16, 2021

Witness to Laddie Gillett Shooting Says They Had No Idea Men in Black Were Police

Laddie Gillett

The shooting death of fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett in Placencia on Wednesday has sent shock waves across the nation. Tonight, we bring you an exclusive eye-witness report from nineteen-year-old Thomas Palacio, the friend who was with Laddie Gillett on the beach when he died. Palacio told New Five’s Paul Lopez via phone about the terror that night as the boys ran from men they thought were trying to rob them.


Thomas Palacio, Friend of Laddie Gillet

“And Paul, I won’t lie to you Paul, I won’t lie to you Paul, and those guys had the intentions of killing me bro.”


Paul Lopez, Reporting

That is the voice of nineteen-year-old Thomas Palacio who remains shocked after witnessing the death of his young friend, fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett on Wednesday night in Placencia Village. Thomas alleges that a gun was pointed at him too, just inches from his face. He believed that as the only witness to the incident his life was on the line.


Thomas Palacio

Thomas Palacio

“Nobody chased us, they ambushed us. When they say it was three guys, it was not three guys, it just me and Laddie jogging home.”


Thomas says at no time did the men identify themselves as police officers.


Thomas Palacio

“My problem with this whole thing is if they had simply say police or security we would have stop instantly Paul. But, they hopped out of nowhere in all black. Now, us being young men with cell phones and stuff in our pocket, not anything expensive but just like, our smartphones and our lives. We were like yo, these are thieves. We just turn around the other way and instantly as I turn around a baton strike me in the back. About two seconds after I hear a gun shot.”


Thomas says he fell to the ground, and to his dismay when he looked over to his side, Laddie Gillett was lying on the ground fatally wounded.


Thomas Palacio

“Right away the man start grab up my shirt and push me in ah my back. Gun eena my face, deh bally start kick up me and knock up me. It is abuse, it is reckless abuse. I look over and see him on the ground. I refuse to what, you know, I refused to believe that he was the one that got hit. These people really have no heart. They were concerned about themselves more than they were about Laddie. “Bway weh we wah duh now”, “Bway the man get hit”, “Bway the man gawn dawg.”


At the moment, Thomas feared that he was also about to lose his life at the hands of one of the officers in an attempt to cover up the incident.


Thomas Palacio

“What saved me was my mouth, what I said. I said, yow our family wah get concerned, dem deh right round the corner and everybody wah be worried.  I said that knowing that they would assume that there were others around them, meaning they can’t kill me, because they would be seen killing two young men for no reason, not just one, but two. I knew that saying that these guys would be on watch thinking they were being watched from a distance. Right away they said, “who all the out deh?”,who unu come with?”, all kinda thing. I just answered their questions honestly, and that is what kept me alive.”

Laddie’s body was reportedly picked up off the beach and taken to the nearby health facility, while Thomas says he was taken to the police station to spend the night inside the jail cell after this horrendous ordeal.


Thomas Palacio

“From the incident happened Paul, from ten thirty, I just call it ten thirty because I assume that is the time I got to the cell, from ten-thirty to two o’clock nobody knew what was happening, nobody knew where I was, nobody knew where Laddie was, nobody knew what was happening. They didn’t allow me to notify anyone. They didn’t allow me to call anyone. They didn’t allow me to reach out to anybody. I am in shock to be honest, I am in shock.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


Palacio says around two am, two officers released him and escorted him back to the resort where he was staying with his family. This is when Laddie Gillett’s family found out what happened.

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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