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Jan 17, 2011

Storeowner kills machete wielding burglar

paul benjamin

A burglary early on Sunday morning at Three Flags Supermarket at mile fifty nine on the Western Highway, ended in the death of the suspect. Paul Benjamin was a football player and his family is still in shock. They don’t believe he ever entered the building and allege that the scene was staged.  While the cops deny that allegation, they did reveal that one of their own is being dealt with internally for not responding to the initial report of a burglary in progress at the establishment.  News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Juanita Saravia, Mother of Deceased

“The only thing I woulda want the police them to find out the truth.”

The family of twenty four year old Paul Benjamin, a father and football player on the Unitedville Village Football Team, questions the circumstances of his shooting death and alleges that the scene where they found him was not where he was shot.

Juanita Saravia

Juanita Saravia

“My younger son had to identify him and my son said there was not a drip of blood, not a pool of blood, nothing.”

Marion Ali

“So what do you feel happened then? You feel he wasn’t killed there?”

Juanita Saravia

“No! I feel like my son wasn’t killed there.  He didn’t have a shirt on, he had his football socks across his stomach, he had his football shirt (jersey) spread out beside him and his bag that he take his football boots and you know, between his foot.”

Aside from the strong belief of Benjamin’s mother, Juanita Saravia, that the scene of the incident was staged, one resident who lives near the supermarket told News Five off-camera that she did hear what sounded like two sets of gunshots that were several minutes apart.

Voice of: Unitedville Resident

“I was watching TV and then I turned off the TV and after I turned off the TV about a few minutes after I said I was going to sleep. When I listened, I heard about five shots. Actually I wasn’t sure if it was gunshot at the time because they normally bust dynamite and after wah while yoh noh hear nothing again. But twenty minutes after you hear mussi like wah next four gunshot again.”

Marion Ali

“Did you hear anything of a breaking in? Did you hear…”

Voice of: Unitedville Resident

“No! No alarm, noise, nothing. Nothing just the gunshot.”

But Officer Commanding the San Ignacio Police Station, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, who visited the scene denies that anything was staged.

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams, Officer Commanding, Cayo Police Formation

chester williams

“I can almost categorically state that the person was shot where he was found. [Umm] there were blood in the area, particularly where his head was because the fatal wound was the one to the head I would suggest. If the brother or the family would want to, I can have the police take them to the location again today or tomorrow to show them the exact location because we want to be transparent. I do not want to have anybody having the perception that the police is in any way, shape or form trying to cover up for Mister Willoughby. Under the head there was a lot of blood.”

Marion Ali

“That was inside the store?”

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“Not inside the store, that was behind the store where Mister Willoughby states that he was confronted by this individual which eventually caused him to fire several shots. Yes I can also state that we observed on the body a total of six bullet holes.”

The man who allegedly shot and killed Benjamin is Ulrick Willoughby, the proprietor of the business.  He was initially detained but later released pending advice from the office of Director of Public Prosecutions on whether he used justifiable force upon Benjamin.  That will be determined following the post mortem examination on Tuesday.  Williams says that police found items stolen from the store in the general vicinity.

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“Some items were found in the immediate vicinity which were stolen from the store. Yes the store was burglarized, yes items were stolen and the items that were found were mostly liquor and we have also gathered information that there may have been another person involved. But so as…”

Marion Ali

“So two, not three?”

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“We were told about two. So as not to prejudice the investigation, I will refrain from calling the name of the other person that we are looking for because whenever that person is apprehended, there may be the need to conduct an identification parade and to have his name out in the media prior to the identification parade may prejudice the parade when that time comes.”

Marion Ali

“Is that person another football player like Mister Benjamin?”

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“I will venture to say no more as it pertains to that other person.”

And while Willoughby’s fate is yet undetermined, the Police Department has taken strict measures against one of its own for the way he handled the incident from the start.

Sr. Supt. Chester Williams

“Misses Willoughby, the wife of Mister Willoughby had called the San Ignacio town Police Station sometime after two, three o’clock thereabout reporting that there was a burglary in progress at their establishment, the mile fifty-nine Superstore. The corporal who was in charge of the night relief at that particular time, Corporal Toledano, for some reason or the other failed to respond to the call. It was not until about forty-five minutes thereabout, after the first call was received that the shooting actually took place. So in hindsight, we are saying that had the police responded in time, who knows, maybe the incident could have been prevented.”

The officer faces two disciplinary charges: failing to respond to a report from the public, a charge to which he pleaded not guilty, and for neglecting his duties when he failed to record that first report of burglary in the police diary.  But while that matter is under investigation internally, those close to the deceased are still trying to figure out what happened before he was killed.  Chairman of Unitedville, Mike Juan said he was with Benjamin in San Ignacio where their team was playing a game the day before he was killed.  He said Benjamin appeared troubled.

Mike Juan, Chairman, Unitedville

“He didn’t play, he was just with me—he reached late to the game. So he said we sit down and watched the game and have couple ice there with him and speaking. Last thing I told him, I said Paul we start workout maybe next week because we need you—we want key players on the team. So I hired a vehicle to take the team to, because I didn’t have a vehicle at the time. SO the vehicle was prepared to come back, ready to come back. So I tell the team we are ready to come back, and nobody wanted to come back to Unitedville. So they said they would stay and ketch back the bus. He was not too happy—like he was there with me but his mind was—maybe he mi feel something mi wah happen.”

Marion Ali

“Did he tell you anything?”

mike juan

Mike Juan

“No he didn’t say anything. He only said that on this week he will start to work out.”

Paul Benjamin was the third of eight children for Juanita Saravia and the father of a toddler.  Marion Ali for News Five.

Senior Superintendent Williams says the police have not received the report that that there were two sets of gunshots minutes apart and he invites residents of the area to come forward with information.

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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65 Responses for “Storeowner kills machete wielding burglar”

  1. vigilante justice 316 says:

    It’s a shame when people force you to have to kill them. I don’t know what happen in this case but if somebody is coming at me with a machete I will not think to shoot the foot, I will shoot for the body and the head, why u think at shooting range you never see legs on those picture. U see head and body only because if u have to shoot u shoot to kill.

  2. vigilante justice 316 says:

    In belize you can’t get justice, because criminals always threaten anyone who try to send them to jail for their crime. Dead men can’t make threats or sneak up on you to silence your testimony.

  3. He-who-feels-it-knows-it says:

    Try to put yourself in this man’s shoes. Is someone is rushing at you with a machete, one’s natural instinct is just to protect oneself. Who has time to aim for a foot in the anxiety and commotion? All that is being thought of in that split second is self preservation and protection for family and others. So please do not judge the situation.

  4. Paco Smith says:

    In all honesty, I believe Mr. Willoughby should be given a medal. I am sick and tired of these “bleeding hearts” who champion the ‘rights’ of those who perpetrate crimes against the innocent. Mr. Willoughby had every right to defend his property. In this case he used what resulted in deadly force, yet I believe it was justified.

    Place yourself in Mr. Willoughby’s shoes. If you are in the process of defending your property and an assailant makes threatening advances toward you, let alone there was presumably a second person as well; what do you expect Mr. Willoughby to do? Should he ask them nicely, to stop their criminal activity on his property? HELL NO! Let’s be realistic, he reacted and did what he needed to do in order to ensure that his life was not taken and to stop the theft of his property.

    Far more often than not, ‘we’ get things twisted. All of a sudden, Mr. Willoughby, despite the fact that he was on his property, is the person who is being criticized. That’s ridiculous. The deceased’s family get all the air time to explain how good a young man he was…that’s sensationalism Belize Style, at its worse. If the victim was such a good young man, what in the hell was he doing on that property during the wee hours of the morning, unauthorised? People, let’s get real. The likelihood is that the deceased wasn’t there based on his good graces. I’m certain he wasn’t there to render some sort of free service to the proprietor. Life is real and this guy got caught. Unfortunately, he lost his life, but when you go in the kitchen, there always exists the possibility that you may get burned!

    I applaud Mr. Willoughby for protecting both his person and property. If more law-abiding citizen would take the bull by the horns, as he did, it would most likely result in more criminals thinking twice before they embark upon robbing and stealing from hard working Belizeans.

    Condolences to the family of the deceased, but the fact remains that he chose to be in that situation and in this instance, he got caught. He paid the ultimate price for his actions.There will be no waste of time and money, for him to get a slick-talking lawyer to try and get him off.

    I call for the public recognition of Mr. Willoughby, as doing a job well done! Crime in Belize will not reduce, unless the criminal element are faced with the stark reality that, “If you choose to become involved in criminal enterprise, there exists the possibility that you very well may pay with your life”.

    Stand up Belize and take back this country from the throngs of criminality!

  5. islander says:

    For those fools who say that he should have shot him in the foot cause he only had a machete and nothing deadlier, DO YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE THE CRAP THAT IS COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH???

    I ask that very seriously because A MACHETE will kill you THE SAME AMOUNT OF DEAD as a gun or 1,000 rifle rounds in the chest.

  6. Hearts says:

    You know this story is so sad.You could be living now judging people and tomorrow you might be where he is. People are quick to talk all kind of none sense judging this young man. Only what they hear they judging. I don’t know what happen you don’t either. So lets be real don’t be happy cause someone is dead because he was stealing and the owner kill him. It could have been your own you might raise your child to be the best and they go the wrong way. So lets not judge our parents. Its just so sad. You see some people believe that because they have money they can do everything. Money ain’t everything in this world. You all who don’t know this young man can say all evil stuff. But just remember that this person no matter what have family who love him and he have love ones too. We are not animal we are all human being. One of these days any one of you could be in the same shoes the family of paul is going through Will see how you all handle it. You are all quick to judge remember there is one man that can judge all of us not a thousand man down here. you might just be here on earth doing you best and when you die you wish to go to heaven and just never heaven but hell and all along you think you will reach heaven but god finds one mistake you think is small and nothing and send you straight to the pit of hell how would you feel. If you wanna judge any one right now judge the government these people are terrible they are the one who should help the people of Belize. Try find job for our people lower cost of living. They are the ones to jump on. This young man was work every day of the week I know cause i see him. So people stop tolerating these stuff to be happening cause this is the same way violence will never stop.

  7. bze in ill says:

    all u people who say he’s a thief and deserve to be shot .well the shooting should star in mr willoughbys home cause that all his sister in laws do out here how would they like it if they were gun down in that manner no throw stone when u have glass window thief da thief .

  8. LOVE TILL DEATH says:


  9. Belizean in Chicago says:

    People stop passing judgement this young man have living relatives who are hurting right now. Only God knows what happened and we should leave the judgement up to him. Do you think the family of Paul wants to be reading the disgusting things that ya’ll be posting. Stop the ignorance and if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t voice your opinion.

  10. Honesty says:

    All you idiots talking !@#$ about Paul….you need to quit an talk a look at you own self……I know Paul Benjamin personally an he was no thief…He was a hard working young man would only got caught up in that messed up situation because of false friends an alcohol…..Paul was a good man….He was under the influence will killed…As for Rick….you know well what really happen so stop pretending…. You a cold murderer……..You are lying every step of the way…an you will pay…..for the idiot talking about giving rick a medal…..dont worry you will soon have you own to receive in…..2maro is promised to no one….you dont know how you will leave as yet…be carful what you say….peace out….put an end to all this rubbish talk….

  11. newz flash says:

    People stop act holy! I gat one cuz who dead fa machete and anda one get he arm and finga chap off over some stupidness. Even my bredda get stab and dead because somebady wah hi tamales. so no act like this kinda thing noh happen. Times hard feh evrybady dah belize but noh evrybady pickup gun an machete foh tek ppl thing. no body went to jail fo killing my bredda and chap up my cuzin wit machete! bu if this boy innocent then i hope hi family get justic

  12. me says:

    wtf all deya bs comments paul was my cuz he was a good loving hard workin man all d bs u dumb @-holes talkin u better be vareful u neva kno weh a cme ur way n d only medal rick a get da one wen ih rch ena ih grave n believe u me my cuz death noh a stay lik dat rick wa get wat he deserve its jus time u all dumb @$$ jus wait n see ih cuda mi be one a fu uno fam den how uno mi a feel uno jus ignorant n stupid

  13. un-named says:

    2yrs today ur gone…
    for the first time reading every comment posted an is stunned by wat i read, so ironic dat pple talk an say tings the dont knw “typical belizean” we all knw that for watever reason he shud’nt hav bin where he was fact but if u knw the entire ordeal of wat took place u wudnt be so quick to judge ‘wrongfully” evry1 had der own opinion not withstanding dat.. wenever ur put into a situation like dis then u wud knw hw to react. many a times we here ple get on the news and defend their child heartidly knwing that their child is no saint ” widout a dout i can tell u that this young man was’nt into criminal stuff. yes we can all point fingers nw bcaz of wat the news report but for the few who knws better, knws this young man and his family can totally vouged for this. its a sad case and not to cast judgement on any1 but all those who was involve in this particular situation knws wat happen and is paying for it, life give and take and wen di tables turn in ur direction and life gives u a fair share of wat u hav given out, hope u have enuff time to remember the many times and countless tears u made pple shed..

  14. Baby momma says:

    As i read all thw comments here, it breaks my heart because i knew who paul was i knew him more than these people commenting. He was my baby father. And as i write this with tears in my eyes, i have one thing to say, every fat pig has his day.. Almost 7 years you are gone. But God will deal with the peraon that did this..

  15. Baby momma says:

    And aa pwople say he had a machete. Its all bullshit and lies because as a matter of fact they disnt find any finger prints on the machette or the stolen items. They set all those thinga beside him just te let people see.

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