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Jan 23, 2023

Man Hangs Self in San Pedro Minutes after Detention for Domestic Incident

Eric Gutierrez

A man reportedly killed himself inside the San Pedro cellblock in the wee hours of Sunday, just minutes after he was detained for a domestic incident with his common-law-wife that morning. The police say they were alerted of the incident by other inmates in the cellblock. But while police are saying it was suicide, the man’s spouse doubts that report. News Five’s Marion Ali was in San Pedro and filed the following report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Thirty-year-old Eric Gutierrez, a labourer at Mahogany Bay Resort in San Pedro, is dead after he reportedly took his life while in police custody at the San Pedro Police Station. Police say they were alerted of the incident only minutes after Gutierrez’ detention on Sunday morning and that when they responded, he was already unresponsive in the cellblock.


Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“Sometime around three-fifteen, the diarist on duty at the San Pedro Police Station heard other prisoners screaming for help. When he went to the cellblock area he saw a male prisoner that detained around three-O-eight who was then identified as Eric Gutierrez, thirty-year-old hanging from what appeared to be a white T- shirt. It was tied around his neck and affixed to the metallic area above the cell block door in the middle cell.”


The police department’s Communications Director, A.S.P Fitzroy Yearwood said that C-P-R was administered but to no avail and Gutierrez was rushed to San Pedro Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead. Yearwood explained that while the police remove everything they believe detainees can use to harm themselves, the T-shirts they are wearing is not one of those things.


A.S.P. Fitzroy Yearwood

“We don’t normally take away your T-shirt that you’re wearing from you. We would take away your belt, laces and so forth. He was placed in a cell with another prisoner and that other prisoner was the one that alerted the officers. This is within a span of less than ten minutes. They tried their best to see what they could have done to save his life. It would also be inhumane if we take away your shirt and pants and have you in a cell naked. Suicide is something very difficult to stop.”


Gutierrez was detained pending a charge of harm that was filed by his ex-common-law wife that morning. But today, she told us off record that they, like any other couple, had their challenges, but nothing out of the ordinary. She said that she did not feel that the T-shirt he was wearing was long enough for him to use to hang himself. Gutierrez, according to sources in San Pedro, had been in trouble with the law before his detention on Sunday morning, but Yearwood said that police brutality was ruled out from the get-go.


A.S.P Fitzroy Yearwood

“We have our investigators on the scene from the discovery of his body and of course that was already ruled out. Like I said, it’s an unfortunate case that took place in our cellblock. We are not just brushing away. We have to investigate everything.”


Yearwood said that a statement was also recorded from Gutierrez’ cellmate and there’s no indication that he was involved in the death. Marion Ali for News Five.

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