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Jan 24, 2022

Virgil Coburn Gunned Down in Belama Phase 1

Virgil Coburn

Around nine p.m. on Friday night, shots rang out in what is known as the quiet neighbourhood of Belama Phase One. Enforcement officer with the Central Health Region, Virgil Coburn, was gunned down on Beltex Crescent. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Four shots, then an additional four others – the blast from gunshots echoed inside the homes of Belama Phase One community. And as quickly as the shots rang out, police arrived on the scene to find one person dead inside a yard on Beltex Crescent. That residence is where thirty-three-year-old Virgil Coburn was visiting and shortly after receiving food from a delivery guy on motorcycle, a gunman opened fire on him. News Five was first on scene seconds after police.


Sr. Supt. Reymundo Reyes

Sr. Supt. Reymundo Reyes, Belize Police Department

“The matter is being investigated so police dealing with it right now.”


Duane Moody

“Sir was it a murder that happened? Can you tell us whether someone was killed?”


Sr. Supt. Reymundo Reyes

“Somebody was shot.”


Duane Moody

“The person is dead sir?”


Sr. Supt. Reymundo Reyes



ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“He was somewhere in front of his residence when he was also approached by a lone gunman that opened fire and fatally injured him. We must say that our investigators have gathered useful information that they believe could led to the identity of these assailants.”


Residents flocked to the scene, including Coburn’s family who today are perplexed by his killing. By all accounts, he was well-known in the community as the life of the party, a professional man who was not involved in any gang – he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.


Marshall Nunez

Marshall Nunez, Belama Resident

“We heard the gunshots and a few minutes later, a couple of the young men from Belama came near to where I live and that’s when we heard the news that it was Virgil. Really and truly shocking because Virgil is not really engaged in that kind of lifestyle. For all the young men growing up in Belama know that essentially Virgil is the life of the party; he will dominate the conversation when there are conversations, will crack the jokes and so. So it was really and truly shocking to hear about that when it happened. A very cool persons; friendly. I think from phase one to phase two – maybe to phase three – Virgil is well-known because he is friendly to everybody. He is the type of person if you get to meet him and you become his friend, it would appear as though you were friends all your life.”


Coburn will also be missed by his work family at Central Health Region, where back in early December he was hired as an enforcement officer under the supervision of Public Health Inspector Lisa Tillett.


Lisa Tillett

Lisa Tillett, Public Health Inspector

“Virgil was such a nice person. From day one, he stood out. Every day Virgil would come, say good morning, get the register, ensure everybody, sign their name and he would keep me updated with the enforcement officers that we have here. Due to the COVID, we never really had a chance to start working so what Doctor Melissa Diaz did as the regional manager, she said we needed to open a site to assist persons that are ill with the COVID. So I told her well then that I don’t have any health inspectors because like sixty-five percent of them were down with the COVID. So I reached out to the enforcement officers and then he was the number one person who chose to get a team together for us and have us ready to go out to Swift Hall to open up. I never had a problem with Virgil. Virgil came to work every day – early, he would be the first face that I see. And that’s why this morning, it was really hard for me to actually come to work.”


Police did not disclose a motive behind the murder of Coburn. Duane

Moody for News Five.

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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