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Jun 6, 2007

Dangriga detainee dies in police custody

A Dangriga man has died while in the custody of police. Authorities have launched a full investigation to determine what caused the death of eighteen year old Fredrick Martinez. Preliminary reports are that around five-thirty on Sunday evening Martinez, described by police as a mental patient, assaulted a taxi driver and was threatening other people. Dangriga police responded to the call and transported Martinez to Southern Regional Hospital, but they were told that there was no psychiatric nurse on duty. As a result, Martinez was detained by police pending evaluation. According to them, the last time Martinez was seen alive was sometime around four-thirty this morning. One hour later, when they made further checks on the detainee, he was found lying motionless on the floor of his cell. Martinez was transported back to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His body awaits a post-mortem; however initial examinations revealed no signs of violence on the body. The police high command has detached a team of senior investigators to Dangriga to look into the matter.

Meanwhile the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lutchman Sooknandan, has completed his review of the case file involving another mental patient, Egbert Gordon Junior, who was killed by a policeman’s bullet in September, 2005. The officer who pulled the trigger was identified as constable Jesus Marroquin. According to the D.P.P., all thirteen witnesses in the case–including two civilians–are claiming that at the time of the shooting Gordon was armed with a gun and there are no other witnesses stating otherwise. As such he could not find cause to levy a charge against Marroquin. The D.P.P., however, has ordered a corner’s inquest and if anyone is found culpable then he would act accordingly. Sooknandan told News Five that he’s met with Gordon’s father, reviewed the case file with him, and informed the family of his findings and decision. At the time of the incident the family admitted that Gordon had become a danger to himself and others, but they strongly believe he was not armed when the police shot him.


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