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Feb 23, 2023

Roaring Creek Teenager Murdered near Popular Swimming Location

Dane Matute Jr.

Residents in Roaring Creek Village are still reeling from a deadly Wednesday afternoon attack that claimed the life of a high school student. On Wednesday afternoon, fifteen-year-old Dane Matute Junior and a group of his teenage peers decided to go for a swim in the village. While socializing along the creek side the group was pounced upon by a pair of gunmen. Matute was mortally wounded, while his friend Kaylen Wade remains hospitalized with gunshot injuries to the foot. The teenagers had a day off from school and decided to gather at the location. But, no one expected that a routine trip would result in the untimely death of one of youth with his entire life ahead of him.  The ordeal has left the entire community in shock and a family grieving for yet another young life gone too soon.  News Five’s Paul Lopez travelled west today. He filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

An afternoon at the creek side turned deadly for a group of teenagers in Roaring Creek Village. On Wednesday, Dane Matute Jr., Kaylen Wade, and several others from the village were socializing at a popular swimming location near the Guanacaste National Park when two gunmen opened fire on them. Matute was fatally wounded and Wade remains hospitalized from the injuries he sustained. The others were able to flee the scene unscathed. Among them was Niah Gentle, Matute’s older cousin.


Niah Gentle

Niah Gentle, Cousin of Deceased

“I gone home and me and my best friend walk and I text my breda and tell ah meet me dah creek. And he neva answer me so we dah the first person down dah creek, me and my best friend. Then, my cousin and his friend meet we down deh and after like thirty minutes and all my cousin deh come down dah creek. And me and my best friend mih already eena water pan the other side and all ah deh mih just the sit down pan the step and chill and like I tell my best friend you think we should go by the step? She said, wait a lee while. I said ok then. So, we wait and right after that I hear the first gunshot.”


Gentle says she heard at least five more gunshots and took cover. She says the group did not run for cover until they saw that Matute and Wade had been hit. It was at that point they realized that they were being targeted.


Niah Gentle

“My cousin mih still have life and he move he self and he mih the lay down pan the ground and he still mih the peep, as if everything mih good. My step father mih deh behind the tree and he mih the talk to my cousin and he mih the respond and everything. My best friend tell me Dane get. I said no. She said, yes look pan ih side. I look and I say, my cousin get shot. I tell ah Inuh want guh yet. I fraid if I mih guh deh mih wah shot me right.”


Matute and Wade were rushed from the bottom of the steps to a waiting vehicle brought over by a neighbor. We spoke off camera with a resident who was among the first responders at the scene.


Voice of: Roaring Creek Resident

“Yesterday while in my house I heard like four gunshots and since we live near to the creek side we know a lot of children mih down deh so we just run deh me and my sista, gawn sih weh happen. When we reach down deh we just sih like twelve young boys the run bout the seh call the ambulance, ih get shot. And, when we reach the creek side a young man mih the deh the tek ih last breath and we just gawn assist ah and tek ah to the hospital. We mih the try call ambulance, try call the police, try call like three times, the call and call, no answer. So we just had to mek the choice and ker ah dah hospital on we own.”


According to Police, Matute succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at the Western Regional Hospital. On the heels of this tragic incident, the Belize Youth Movement Cayo Central issued a release condemning violence against youths, while calling for the implementation of more community-based youth programs across the country.


Adrian Palma

Adrian Palma, President, BYM Cayo Central

“When we saw the incident we were very disappointed that this violence of youths continues in our country. We wanted to send a clear message that we condemn violence against youth. So yeah, what are we calling for? We are calling for a full investigation by the authorities responsible and we are also calling for the community to come together and promote more community based programs for the youths among Belize in a whole.For instance, here in Cayo Central what we are trying to promote the most is social programs for the youths having them do movie nights, campfires, clean up campaigns, so that they can focus on more positive community action.”


The murder of Dane Matute has left his cousin Niah traumatized and fearful of walking around in the community as freely as she did prior to this incident.


Niah Gentle

“I nuh sleep. I never did sleep home because I mih fraid. I sleep dah my best friend house and I stay up. I get one hour of sleep, because he come in my dreams. I dream about he and I get up and couldn’t sleep. I nuh know, I just feel traumatized, like I nuh want deh nowhere. I just want stay home and stay around my family, cause I sih that life short and yo have to just yeah. He would have give me advice and tell me what is right from what is wrong. Everybody loved Dane because he mih always sweet and do anything fih anybody.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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