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Aug 10, 2022

Who Is John Roy Smith, Charged Jointly for Hopkins Mass Shooting?

John Roy Smith

He was charged a week ago, along with three Belizeans, for the July thirty-first double murder during the mass shooting in Hopkins Village. But there is little that is known about John Roy Smith, the forty-three-year-old retired Canadian soldier who was apprehended inside his pickup truck that police say was one of two vehicles fleeing the scene after the incident. Police say he’s been in Belize for some years, but Smith actually just relocated to Belize earlier this year. He reportedly became close friends with the other three men with whom he’s been jointly charged and police had them under surveillance for a while, the details of which are not clear at this time. But who is John Roy Smith, who police say is equally responsible for the killing of two men and the wounding of eight others, including three police officers? News Five’s Marion Ali takes a closer look at the life of John Roy Smith. Here’s that report.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police (File, August 2, 2022)

“He has been monitored by the police before but not to that extent.  We have heard things in the past and police have checked out, but not, per se, deeply under the radar, no.”


Duane Moody

“Sir, how long has that Canadian been in Belize?”

Chester Williams

“I think he has been here for a number of years.  If you go on social media you will see that there are several pictures of him and the other accused men together, hanging out and these sorts of things.  So it shows that they are very close associates.”


Marion Ali, Reporting

While police say the retired Canadian master corporal of the Royal Canadian Military in Petawawa Town, Ontario was under their radar since arriving in Belize, an interview he had given before leaving his home in the City of Barrie, Ontario suggests that he had suffered some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder.

John Roy Smith served in the Canadian military from September 2001 to September 2011 before being medically released for injuries he suffered while serving in the war in Afghanistan. Smith had fought in Operation Medusa against the Taliban in Kandahar. Twelve Canadian soldiers were killed and several others were wounded. In this interview he gave before leaving Canada for Belize, he explained that he was psychiatrically evaluated after he showed no remorse for taking part in combat that claimed lives. Smith explained that because the combat was one-on-one, there were no innocent lives involved.


John Roy Smith

John Roy Smith, Charged with Two Counts of Murder

“To me there’s a big difference between going and hurting the innocent. In our case, we fought Medusa so Medusa was very much us and them. There are no civilians in the middle. There is no innocence in the middle, there’s no ability to make a mistake and taking out the wrong person. Everybody was shooting this way and we were shooting that way. It was simple. It was black and white. I’ve been through all the brain traumas, all that stuff and in my opinion, I’ve effectively came out the other side. I started psychology at one point to kinda figure out why it was that the brain was doing.”


After his retirement from the army in 2012, Smith opened a small business he named Frontline Cabinetry and Furniture as his re-entry into civilian life, as well as to help other Canadian soldiers who had also suffered mentally from the war to find some positive distraction. But when COVID-19 swept through, the Canadian government imposed pandemic-related restrictions that Smith thought were unfair to small businesses like his. He then set his eyes on Belize, purchased a piece of land here and left his home in New Lowell community, in the City of Barrie. He moved to Belize earlier this year with his girlfriend.


John Roy Smith, Charged with Two Counts of Murder

“Now here we are in 2022 and COVID stuff and all of that and…I’m just gonna change my idea of home and I found that in Belize actually.”


Smith and his co-accused are due back in court on November ninth. Marion Ali 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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