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Apr 3, 2023

Sixteen-Year-Old S.J.C. Student Gunned Down in Belize City

Wellington Williams

Three persons lost their lives over the weekend in two separate shooting incidents and a road traffic accident. We begin with the murder of sixteen-year-old Belize City student, Wellington Williams on Central American Boulevard. At around six-thirty on Saturday night, Williams was walking towards the Port of Belize compound to deliver food for his aunt’s fast-food restaurant when he was approached by a pair of gunmen. The assailants fired in Williams’ direction at close range, causing fatal injuries to his chest and abdomen.  They then made good their escape. Williams was rushed to K.H.M.H. where he died while undergoing treatment. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Sixteen-year-old Wellington Williams, athird form student at St. John’s College, was shot and killed near his home in Belize City on Saturday evening. His mother, Cleta Novelo, is trying to come to terms with her son’s murder. This morning, she recounted the incident that led to his untimely demise.


Cleta Novelo

Cleta Novelo, Mother of Deceased

“The information I received was that we was doing a routine or a regular errand. When truckers from Puma are in, his aunt asks him to take food to them, deliver food for them. Upon reaching about three to four houses away from the area, everyone just hear pow, pow, pow. My sister told me that they were on the phone with security at Puma telling them that food is on the way. And, when the security heard the noise, they end the call and everybody rushed out.”


It is believed that the perpetrators were hiding behind this concrete fence, as an unsuspecting Williams approached. They fired at least eight gunshots in his direction at close range. An injured Williams ran a short distance towards his aunt’s kitchen before collapsing on the sidewalk.


Cleta Novelo

“One of the aunt say he only holler in Spanish, tia, tia, and when they rushed out they saw him on the ground. So, everyone just picked him up, rushed him in a vehicle and take him to the hospital. When we saw his body it was multiple gunshots in his chest, hand and we saw on his side here. I don’t know where else and things like that.”


According to ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, the Communications Director at the Belize Police Department, investigators are in possession of information that could potentially lead them to the culprits.


Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, B.P.D.

“I know that police officers are following several leads, but for us to say that motive have been established, it is not there as yet. But, I can tell you that investigators have been canvassing the area, from Saturday. We have some useful information that we believe could bring some form of closure to this.”


Wellington Williams was a recipient of S.J.C.’s Mary O’Connor Scholarship, a grant awarded to students from St. Martin De Porres Primary School.  He was also a member of the high school’s marching band. We spoke with Mirtha Peralta, the President of S.J.C., this afternoon at her office.


Mirtha Peralta

Mirtha Peralta, President, S.J.C.

“We are grieving and we are saddened by the situation. Since we have heard the news, we have called on our teachers and administration to talk about it, to talk about how we feel about the situation. Wellington is a part of S.J.C. so it is natural that we are going to grieve him. We also had this morning, we met with the family, Ms. Cleta and her four other children and they also had an opportunity for them to share how Wellington was at home and how they are feeling at this time. He was also a part of the marching band, and again that was very heartwarming when his mother explained how alive, how he felt being part of and how the drums was like everything for him after school. So, when we bring the students here we create that space to not only come here study, but also to meet friends and to feel safe.”


Gun violence has claimed the life of two other S.J.C. high school students in recent times. In September 2021, fifteen-year-old Duane Gabourel was gunned down on New Road. Two weeks later, fifteen-year-old Kasmaan Gill succumbed to gunshot injuries he sustained while walking on Magazine Road. Gabourel, Gill, and Williams were all from the same cohort of students.


Mirtha Peralta

“One of the things we are already talking about is what are we going to do as an intervention measure. It is not about reacting now, but what is it that we are going to do for the students that will come, because Duane Gabourel, Kasmaan Gill and now Wellington Williams were all third form students and all of them were enrolled in the same cohort. What are we going to do so that when they get into third form they are more prepared to deal with the societal issue and of course the violence on the streets. Our boys are a target, one because we are the only all boys school in the country. So, when we lose one of the seven hundred it is a lot.”


According to his mother, Wellington was also an active member of a church youth group in Belize City. He attended youth meetings religiously on Friday nights. Recently, he began attending bible studies on Pen Road where he was being mentored.


Cleta Novelo

“A humble young man, everybody comes and say. He is well mannerly, humble, very active, never heard him getting in trouble with police anything. He doesn’t have a record. He was like mom, when I finish fourth form I will ask my uncles in the states to let me migrate with them. I said, if you graduate. He said no mom, I will graduate.”


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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