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Sep 8, 2008

One injured in Princess Margaret shooting

At the tail end of the carnival, while thousands of onlookers were converged on Princess Margaret Drive in front of Jabiru Auto Rental, another violent incident sent the crowds scrambling for cover. One person was injured by gunshots and others were injured when bottles were hurled into the air. Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
As the carnival passed at five-fifty p.m. at the entrance to West Landivar and Princess Margaret Drive, the evening’s joy turned grim as a group of men turned their anger on each other and the families that were watching.

Nina Reneau, Concerned Resident
“I was surely enjoying the carnival. It was a really pleasant day and I was surely enjoying it and there was a lot of kids enjoying it also but shortly after some of the people passed, the carnival groups passed, there was a shooting. I don’t if there was a fight, I don’t know what went wrong; if there was too much drinking, if there was too much alcohol but there was a shooting I was so frightened.”

Assistant Commissioner of Police says that because of renovations to the Marion Jones Stadium the carnival ended outside and they had a change of strategy for security.

Crispin Jefferies, Assistant Commissioner of Police
“Every available officer who had worked other areas en route to Marion Jones Stadium accompanying the carnival was re-deployed. So we had upwards of a hundred officers at that material time at the junction of the Princess Margaret Drive and the roundabout and the junction with St. Thomas Street on Princess Margaret Drive. As is customary in the past five years, these parades are flanked. Numbers of armed or military type police teams including members of the Belize Defence Force are placed onboard vehicles and they flank these parades. It is nothing new and this was in effect and was working on that day in question. The material time of the shooting incident saw what we believe was a stampede. A number of persons ran off because they panicked. The loud music that was going at that material time prevented some from hearing it. When they recognised what was happening they too joined in. the crowd spilled off into Vasquez Avenue and police teams were seen assisting. When we got the possibility to access the traffic route vehicles were deployed in addition to those already on the scene to the area. Fortunately for us by the time our vehicles got there, the police were running through the mangrove perusing a male person seen fleeing the area. That person to this time was not caught. Yes, there is need for concerns because the attitude of our citizens; the attitude and the behaviours have changed considerably and because of those considerations, we the police had everything in place. There was nothing, based on our intelligence, to say that there was a recent shooting or any feud that would have indicating that this type of thing would have occurred. Had that been the case, those persons, despite who may want to criticise the police, would have been removed from the community and taken out of circulation. We would have hardened the target.”

Nina Reneau, Concerned Resident
“But now I am scared to go out for the tenth and I will be scared to go out for the twenty-first. So I will be staying at home. So that’s my joy stopped. So I will be staying at home.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Misses Reneau identified the lost boy as Helton Farabia and his mother picked him up later that night. The miracle of the carnival day shooting is that only one individual was shot. Nineteen year old Harrison Haylock received pellet wounds to the right calf and left arm below his elbow. Police have already identified suspects and are looking for them.


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