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Feb 15, 2008

Two dead, one wounded in Gill Street ambush

Story PictureWhen it comes to fatal violence, the year started out on a hopeful note but in the last week a string of murders from north to south has put a damper on any post election euphoria and reminded Belizeans that partisan politics alone will not solve our most serious social problems. News Five’s Marion Ali begins our coverage by following up on the double murder that occurred yesterday evening in Belize City.

Marion Ali, Reporting
Emotions were high this afternoon as the families of two men murdered in the latest spate of gun violence went to view their corpses at the K.H.M.H morgue. The deadly assault occurred a few minutes after five on Valentine’s evening on Gill Street in the Port Loyola area.

Police say brothers, nineteen year old Eugene Flores and twenty-four year old Ron Thomas were riding bikes along with their neighbour, eighteen year old Roberto Torres, and three others on Gill Street when two gunmen emerged from this abandoned concrete house and opened fire. It is believed the victims, who were construction workers, had just left work and were heading to their homes on Iguana Street.

Roberto Torres was struck in the right side of the head and back and died at the scene. His Mother, Teresita Chan, is grappling with the fact that her son never lived to fulfill his Valentine’s Day plans.

Teresita Chan, Mother of Roberto Torres
“He come home yesterday afternoon come eat and ih tell me Ma when I come home this evening I going to buy Valentine’s for you and me gial, Vanessa. He has his fiancé. Ah say ok papa, I tell ah, tek care and ih smile and ih kiss ih little nephew and ih gone.”

Marion Ali
“Why you think they shot your son?”

Teresita Chan
My lee boy da somebody we I noh know why but my lee boy like I explain, he loving, he kind and he always di smile. All fi he pictures them he smile. Anything my little boy work fa. He come home, here ma. He neva deh bout di stray or thief or got police background. He no do that.”

Equally stunned by the shootings is Veronica Flores, whose brothers, Eugene Flores and Ron Thomas, were hit.

Veronica Flores, sister, Eugene Flores and Ron Thomas
“I was shocked when they tell me that my bredda dead because the last time I see my bredda da yesterday morning before I left from home fi go da school. And he mi di talk to me and all a that. I no know why they had to shot my bredda dem like that because my two bredda dem no do nobody nothing. My bredda deh innocent. My bredda deh no fool with nobody. When my bredda deh come from work, from work deh come straight home and cool off and hang with all ah we, talk and laugh. So I know why deh had to shot my bredda like that fa, four time, kill my bredda.”

Eugene Flores died from bullets that penetrated his abdomen while Thomas is recovering from a wound to his right leg. The shooting has left residents of Gill Street frightened.

Gill Street Resident
“We were inside our house when we heard about ten or fifteen gunshots and after it all settled we came outside and we saw the two guys lying on the ground and blood was coming from one of the man’s head. One seemed to have got shot in his eye and we called the police and they responded quickly and they took them to the hospital.”

Marion Ali
“I understand these guys use this street everyday to go to and from work and home?”

Voice of Gill Street Resident
“Well that is what the neighbours tell me cause I’m at work most of the time but people around here say they see them pass here everyday. We thought it was dynamites.”

Marion Ali
“So you didn’t see nobody running away afterwards?”

Gill Street Resident
“We didn’t see anybody. It was so quick. We ducked inside and all that so we couldn’t see anything at all.”

While police have not yet charged a suspect now in their custody, investigations continue to determine the motive behind the shooting. Meanwhile, Roberto Torres’ mother, Teresita Chan, is appealing to the powers that be to ensure that justice is served.

Teresita Chan
“I di plead to the Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow please mek ih get rough with them bally cause they bally kill and they just go da jail and come out. Some a dem no even go da jail. All I want da justice and I di ask fi please mek they start to hang, hang because Belize gone.”

Its an appeal that Minister of National Security, Carlos Perdomo says cannot go unanswered in the wake of nine murders over the last seven days.

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security
“This morning I directed that the Police come up with a plan to try to mitigate this widespread incidences so as I speak the Police operation is beginning to plan to look at a National operation to see how we can begin to control it.”

Marion Ali
“Would you yourself as Minister have a plan to offer?”

Carlos Perdomo
“Well, as a Minister I do have a plan but since I’m only three days on the job it’s hard to talk about that but we need to sit down with all the security forces and see if its doable and then we’ll have a presentation for some of those ideas.”

A few specifics, according to a police news release include conducting additional patrols in hot spots, increasing spontaneous stop and search operations, while carrying out intervention measures aimed at decreasing the tension between rival gangs.

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.


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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