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Jul 19, 2021

Gun Video Brings Police Right to their Door

Five Belize City men, including a well-known underworld figure, have been charged for what is quickly becoming a social media trend, gang members flaunting deadly weapons during a live stream.  Beyond flourishing the illegal handguns is the fact that they were each equipped with extended cartridges that are equally prohibited.  The disturbing video of Brandon Baptist and his associates has gone viral and tonight they have all been hit with a battery of charges stemming from firearm and gang-related offenses.  Those men are Joseph James, John Grinage Junior, Sheldon Grinage, Brandon Baptist and Hubert Baptist.  Under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, a raid was conducted after which the men were charged with producing a video recording to gang-related and related activity, being a member of a gang.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Three months ago, when reputed street figure Brandon Baptist accepted a weed-whacker from the Belize Police Department it was an open gesture that he was also renouncing gang activity.  It was him turning over a new leaf and receiving the full support of Dr. Richard Rosado, Officer Commanding Eastern Division.


Richard Rosado

Dr. Richard Rosado, Officer Commanding Eastern Division [File: March 24th, 2021]

“We believe that employment that centers around at-risk youths can decrease these youths likelihood in being in the street and involvement in gang-related violence or criminal behavior.  We also believe that it can also help them to develop that sense of responsibility and it’s a form of financial incentive for them.  I see today as a good day, a good example of how the business community can collaborate with us.”


The idea was that with the string trimmer, Baptist would create employment not only for himself but also for his friends on Police Street.  But something happened that has since rendered the transformation short-lived.  Over the weekend, a video clip began circulating on social media.  In it are five men, including Baptist, wielding illegal firearms.


Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“That was sent to me yesterday by several friends, people who are concerned that these types of weapons are in the streets and I wouldn’t be comfortable because of course their identity are makeable.  I wouldn’t be comfortable knowing that someone that lives in my neighborhood has a weapon like that that could cause serious damages if used.”


What they are seen brandishing, among other weapons, is a nine millimeter handgun with a fifty round drum magazine.  It’s a prohibited piece of detachable container for additional bullets, considerably more than what the average pistol holds.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“We at the police department view this very seriously and we have investigators looking, searching for these persons and we are asking the general public, I mean no bullet has an owner until it makes its mark and we are asking you, we do not know whose life these could affect.  But of course, you know that one bullet could affect several lives and if we tolerate these people to operate in this kind of fashion where they can boast on social media about carrying these weapons.”


In another recording that has also been released to the internet, a group of young men can be seen in what appears to be a video shoot.  They are also showing off several handguns.  The extras on the set, presumably affiliated with one of the Belize City gangs, are emulating what has become a popular scene where weapons are waved in front of the camera.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“For their sake, I am hoping that they are imitation firearms, but of course we know that nobody would make a video brandishing imitation firearms out there.  But if these culprits are caught then we will know exactly how to deal with them.”


Isani Cayetano

“Where does an investigation begin from, because you’re seeing the weapons, you’re seeing the faces, that should be sufficient.”


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“Like you are saying, and I agree, we have seen the video and like I said, we are investigating it.  I am not here to tell you what method we are using, the fact remains that from the moment we are investigating it it’s because it is of great concern.  The methods that we use will be kept in the department and whatever we do, you the public will know because we will not keep that from you.”


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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