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Aug 21, 2023

Former Police Volunteer Shoots & Kills Billy White Villager

As we reported at the top of the news, there were two murders in the Cayo District over the weekend. The shooting death of an alleged minor in San Ignacio Town for which Joseph Budna is also under investigation, and then there was the murder of a Billy White villager on Saturday night. Police responded to a report of shots fired at El Rey Bar in Billy White Village and arrived to find Eric Estrada and Rafael Riverao injured. Reports are that while Rivera was attending to Estrada, Dimas Duarte took out a handgun and fired several shots at Estrada. Eleven bullets made their mark on Estrada who died at the Western Regional Hospital. Fortunately, Rivera, who was behind the counter, was hit to the leg and survived the hail of bullets. As we found out, the shooter once volunteered with the Belize Police Department and has multiple gun licenses. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Just after eight o’clock on Saturday night, shots rang out at El Rey Bar in Billy White Village. Thirty-three-year-old Eric Estrada was gunned down by Dimas Duarte, another resident of the village.


Santos Chacon

Santos Chacon, Brother of Deceased

“When I heard those gunshots, I wake up and I came out and my next brother came here and told me that this man shot my brother at the bar. He was there too when he see my next brother, he even run after him and attempted to kill him too. But my brother jumped two fences and he gone so the man can’t catch him.”


Bar owner Rafael Rivera says that he was out fishing and had just reached the establishment to take over from his mother.  As Rivera fetched a beer for the deceased, he heard a barrage of bullets and would later realize that he had been shot to the leg.


Rafael Rivera

Rafael Rivera, Shooting Victim

“Coming into the bar, I saw my mom; she was coming to get some change for some of the clients. Then I just help she fi serve the beer when the guy was shot and that’s how we get shot. I was to serve the beer, I feel the shot.”


The gunman has been identified as Dimas Duarte, who has been living in the village for almost a decade. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that the murder may possibly be the result of an incident several months ago where Estrada reportedly had stabbed Duarte.


Chester Willaims

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“About couple months ago, I believe in the month of May to be exact, Estrada was accused of stabbing Duarte during a previous misunderstanding they had and perhaps that incident is what motivated what took place on Friday night.”


But residents say that Duarte has been abusing his power as a police officer in the village.

Eric Estrada

Santos Chacon

“I knew that man from a long time ago already how he behave when he is in the influence and without the influence, he is the same person, trying to do all kind of badness here. He came walking along from that road with the gun in his hand in the view of all his neighbours, he walked down to his house. From there, some other people say he was walking to the back.”


ComPol Chester Williams says that he was a former volunteer with the Belize Police Department and has not been working with the department for about four years.


Chester Williams

“He was one of those persons who volunteered with the police in that area. He is not a special constable, per say he’s not paid or has never been paid by the police or the Government of Belize in any way. You would know that in some communities, we do have some people who would volunteer and work with the police and do patrols. He used to do that with the police in San Ignacio, but he had stopped over three to four years ago, so he was not engaged any at all with the police.”



“But he had a licensed firearm?”


Chester Williams

“He had two licensed firearms, yes.”



“Was his link with the police department what enabled him to get two gun licenses?”


Chester Williams

“I don’t know because those licenses were issued before my time as commissioner, so I cannot say.”



“Has he been detained?”


Chester Williams

“At this time, no. We are still pursuing him. We believe that he might have fled over to Guatemala as he is a Guatemalan by birth and so we are working with our Guatemalan counterparts to see if we will be able to locate him”


A wanted bulletin has since been issued for the detention of Duarte. 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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