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Mar 10, 2009

Investigation into death of canero may fall short

Story PictureOne month and eight days after canero Antanacio Gutierrez was shot dead in the riot in Orange Walk the investigations are still ongoing. The wife of the fallen cane farmer, Benita Gutierrez subsequently wrote to the Prime Minister calling for an investigating into her husband’s death. In that letter Benita stated that there were a number of witnesses willing to testify and that one of those witnesses got his hands on a numbered baton belonging to the officer who shot her husband and can identify the said officer. But while those investigations continue, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, who is heading the task, told the media today that he will return to Orange Walk this week to resume that aspect of his duties. But surprisingly, the officer said he is meeting some resistance from some of the protestors. And worse than that, authorities may not be able to tell who killed Antanacio Gutierrez.

Allen Whylie, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“We have made some progress in terms of interviewing a number of persons. Regrettable however, we’ve still not been making much success in terms of getting the cooperation of those persons who were injured. Nonetheless, at the conclusion of the investigation the file will be prepared and it will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office for her further directive. Based on the bullet that was recovered from the deceased it was either an M-sixteen or an AR-fifteen rifle that the bullet was fired from.”

Marion Ali
“And who use those?”

Allen Whylie
“Well, a number of people use those. We know that the police had M-sixteen’s out there that day, but I cannot say that that bullet came from one of those M-sixteen’s at this point in time.”

Crispin Jeffries, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“The slug that was recovered could be a point two-two-three slug also because they are both the same size slug. They are only fired from a civilian type weapon or a military type weapon. So it is not the security forces alone that can have that caliber of ammunition. Members of the public can also have that.”

Major David Jones, Bomb Squad, B.D.F.
“To be more certain you would have to find the shell and to be sure that yes, the weapon was fired from that shell and that particular bullet came from that shell to ascertain by looking at the batch number on the shell. So you cannot specifically say that yes, that was a round that was used from a security force personnel.”

Marion Ali
“So by testing the weapons out there that were issued by the military or police you will not be able to tell from which of those, if any of those, it was fired from?”

Crispin Jeffries
“The tests would have to be extensive and at this time we do not have the ballistic analysis capability to go to that extent. All the weapons would have to be test fired and then compared so it would be a lengthy exercise to determine exactly which weapon fired that round and we have not gotten to that stage as yet. We do not have the scientific capability in country to do that.”

But while the origin of the bullet that claimed the life of Gutierrez may remain inconclusive at this time, a much-needed integrated ballistics system will come on stream in the near future to answer questions of this nature where weapons and bullets are concerned.

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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