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Oct 2, 2012

B.D.F. volunteer murdered by B.D.F. volunteer in Militia Hall

Clifford Cruz

A young B.D.F. volunteer soldier was murdered before news time on Monday night after a crime wave swept across the country over the weekend.  Clifford Cruz was killed when another volunteer soldier pulled the trigger of his service Rifle. The murder at the Militia Hall of the B.D.F. on the George Price Highway is a first; it stunned the force that it took them close to twenty-four hours to provide details on the incident. By all accounts, there was an altercation between Cruz and Michael Rhaburn. News Five’s Andrea Polanco gathered a bit more on the unprecedented, fatal incident.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For six years he was a volunteer with the Belize Defence Force, and it was on the Volunteer Battalion Headquarters, Militia Hall, where twenty one year old Clifford Isaac Cruz was killed. The news came as a shock to the family because from all indications, Cruz, the father of one, was very easy going. But, on Monday evening some minutes before five Cruz was shot once.


Raphael Martinez, PR, Ministry of National Security

“At approximately five o’clock yesterday evening, police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw B.D.F. soldier, from  the volunteer element of a #25 Round Street Area, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the stomach and an exit wound to the back.”


The family said the single shot caused Cruz to suffer spinal, kidney and liver damage.  He went unconscious before reaching the hospital. The soldier died around nine on Monday night at the K.H.M.H. Cruz’s family says that Clifford went home earlier that afternoon to inform them of the good news that he would be joining the ranks of the regular B.D.F.  He later returned to work and according to police, Cruz was on duty along with seventeen year old Michael Rhaburn. It is alleged that an argument started between the two men.


Raphael Martinez

Raphael Martinez

“Initial investigations revealed that Cruz was on guard duty at the Militia Hall, located at miles one and a half on the George Price Highway, along with Michael Rhaburn, seventeen years old, also a volunteer soldier. When both individuals allegedly got into an argument and this resulted in Rhaburn firing a single shot, from his military issued AR15, which caused the fatal injury to Cruz”


Andrea Polanco

“Did it happen on the compound or was it in the guard room?”


Raphael Martinez

“I was told it happened in the compound. I was told it happened in the compound. As a matter of fact we do have very rigorous military supervision but I was told it happened so quickly that by the time the supervisor got there, the damage was already done. I am sure that the B.D.F. will be looking into the situation surrounding this very deadly event that occurred.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, during the space of the argument, none of the other soldiers on the compound attempted to intervene?”


Raphael Martinez

“Well, normally we don’t have a lot of soldier at the militia Hall because guard duties are just to guard the compound and some people are probably resting while others are guarding. So it would not be unusual to only have two persons at a given time looking to ensure everything is okay. In the night they would be more vigilant and more people would be around. It happened quite early as well, so it is not unusual for this to occur like that.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, with respect to the rifle that was used, was this assigned to Mr. Rhaburn to carry out his duties and responsibilities? It was assigned for the day?”


Raphael Martinez

“Exactly, it is customary for a soldier to be issued an AR weapon and this AR15 is a precursor to the M16 that the regular forces are using. The guard who is tasked with looking after the compound is given live ammunition as well as a military issued AR15.”


Andrea Polanco

“Okay, so clarify this for me, both of them were on guard at the time?”


Raphael Martinez

“But only one weapon was issued. Only one is issued at any given time at that particular moment. So he was the only person with weapon and ammunition at the time.”


And while Martinez was unable to expound on the nature of the argument between the men, we were reliably informed that it was because Cruz was promoted that same day. As our camera arrived today at the Volunteer Battalion Headquarters, the police officers were in and out of the Militia Hall. And our records indicate that this may just be the first of its kind to happen on a military compound, Martinez agrees.


Raphael Martinez

“As far as I can remember this is the only one that I can recall.”


Police have since detained Rhaburn, pending investigations.


Raphael Martinez

“Well, basically, the police have him detained and I am sure charges will be levied on him and that will be forwarded to the D.P.P. for them to make a decision where this goes.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


Because it is a criminal matter, Rhaburn remains in police custody.

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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16 Responses for “B.D.F. volunteer murdered by B.D.F. volunteer in Militia Hall”

  1. Storm says:

    Very sad story, possibly more indication of BDF rotting from within — other important signs being the repeated theft of weapons. It raises some questions, too, like the advisability of enlisting 17-year old children, even as volunteers, and what process is used to weed out potential bad characters and immature recruits?

    Few responsible parents would trust their minor children with unsupervised use of a loaded military rifle. Was BDF negligent in letting Rhaburn have one? By the results, possibly so.

    At any rate, another tragedy, another Belizean child facing life without a father.

    If it’s murder, he should hang — but our law says he is too young. That law is insane in this situation, when GOB set the minor up with the murder weapon! At a minimum, let the murderer die in prison.

  2. Be Real says:

    dumbest thing ever: you let a damn 17 year old hold the only gun instead of the volunteer who has 6 years experience and a recent promotion. Plain dumb and it is sad becauuse it has caused some one to lose thier son, brother, father, uncle or nephew.

  3. Uncle Benji says:

    Toy soldier killing toy soldier. Way to go. We are giving these fools real weapons to play with. Gawd, how we miss the old days.

    There was something called BVG (Belize Volunteer Guards) back in the virgin days of Belize. Every year, this ragtag outfit would go to the Pine Ridge area, where they played at being soldiers, under the command of folks like DNA Fairweather.

    Walking around with rifles and imaginary bullets, people would shoot at each other. But everyone returned home safe. No deaths.

    One day a jaguar got into the camp and charged at DNA Fairweather, who in his fright, climbed the flagpole in his British colors pajamas………….. but that is another story for another day.


    HMM SAD TO HERE THIS BUT R.I.P. CRUZ AKA BONES.. WILL BE MISS, I STARTED OUT WITH HIM WHEN HE JOINED D B.D.F. volunteers and we worked together at times at the camp.. and he was cool guy worked hard and who never had life easy and he loved his job and sad to hear he was about to go to the regulars which i know he always tried to get into and now his chance was cut short and to say i saw this day day it happen right behind the truck exactly i was when it was trying to get through the evening traffic.. I was just looking on trying to to see which volunteer was shot with me just think it was some young recruit who just joined must get hurt and to find out sum new recruit who just joined did it and that it was cruz in the back of the truck i saw that evening with other trying to help keep in awake hmmm don’t no what to think but it’s these young guys who join and have no discipline in the job when i joined along with him things like this cud never happened because discipline was taught and enforced to help you be a better person as youth who joined trying to help better themselves and not being idle on the street..these days that has gone thats why I lefted it… young kids from off the street who you woud try help but no matter what you talk to them about our try to teach them they were stubborn as they here they hold a riffle they became trigger happy and ..and are not fully trained and mature enough to be trusted with ammunition just are waiting to some do some thing so the can shoot of the gun i have seen this and say the volunteers is going down.. its not the same again see what happen now someone who loved his job and was fun to talk with n share stories at work and working to help himself and his family has lost his life due to the lack of discipline and proper training.. It use to be like a brotherhood shared joke help one another and talk about things affecting us.. I made many gud friends through the volunteers and to say now i lost a friend…. not much to say more but it sad u always be in mind cruz R.I.P may you family get some peace of mind and this gets dealt quickly with who ever did it.

  5. Simone says:

    what kind of recruit shows gang sign when taking pics-no wonder things go missing-sounds like possible that a bully got what he was asking for?

  6. Steel says:

    WTF am i hearing???????? On channel 7 Rhaburn’s cousin has the guts to come on camera and say “SELF DEFENSE” ???????????? Stop protecting murderers!!!! Rhaburn was the only one with a gun! How the f$$$ could he have felt threatened by someone empty handed?! Thats some bullsh** right there.

  7. Nimbo says:

    What is a 17 year old- which we would consider a minor yet – (18 is the legal age in Belize) doing with a mortal weapon? Why would he be the one holding the weapon and not somebody who is Senior in position to him? So many flaws with the system- seems that our country is being run by children – in all aspects and departments, starting with our own PM and trickling down.

    Sad to say, with all the corruption happening people are not focusing in doing a good job but just filling their pockets all over. It always starts from the top and trickles down..

    Let’s pray for our country and our children. We see the problem from the youngsters up. Children at school coming to class with so much anger and resentment, taking it out on their fellow classmates and teachers and ..if we do not do anything at that stage to help, the problem continues and they are unable to function in society. A simple word or gesture triggers these people off.

    The old saying is that “it takes a village to raise a child” – go and try that these days and see what you get from their very own parents to start with…..

  8. Toy Soldier says:

    Toy soldier!!!!! they are not toy soldiers anymore this is the correct time to start to ask questions who is to blame! blame the Goverment for trying to take all that rubish from the streets and bring them into the battalion because this es exactly what is happening expecting that they might change but the will never change they are just coming in to gain information and knowledge or blame the higher ranks because a lot of them have cousins nephews and families who are gangster and they are recomending them in the force or blame the buget it was too low to produce adequate training for the new recruit or blame a stuburn commander. Disciple!!!!!! that does’nt exist anymore even some of our higher ranks are thieves they don’t know the word disciple instead of going forward we are going backward like the crab where is the discipline that was thaught years dah back wake up Government and commanders start to reacruit good soldiers and lef the rubish where they belong so on the longer road we can counquer them or we all will end up in rubish… and i no see nothing strange with a 17 yrs old pulling a triger he new how to use a weapon before he join the ranks maybe when he was 10 or younger that is belize now a days parents blame the parents for not educating thier chaild properly at home they are the ones to blame must of them send thier child to other orginization beacause they can not discipline thier child what the hell is that.

  9. Seletar says:

    I’ve suspected for a while that gangs are deliberately infiltrating security forces wherever they can.

    It’s beyond insanity for GOB to permit that — in my eyes, it’s treason, arming the enemy.


    Putting our army’s weapons into the hands of gangsters is criminal conduct. Who can arrest the leaders who are responsible for it?

  10. MIDDLETON says:

    This was not a negligent discharge (ND). COLD BLOODED MURDER. One with a weapon. One without a weapon. Supervision was not the problem. Same ‘soldier-like’ expectations of soldiers across the board, regardless of age. If Cruz had the weapon, he would have probably reported the matter (no casualty). Choices. Choices. I would not be quick to blame the Vol Bn. It is not always the easiest thing to know beforehand what type of monsters from society get employed. Still I would encourage the Vol Bn to obtain as much history as possible on the recruits or they might end up employing murderers to train them to be better murderers. This is a first. Let it be the last. Hang Rhaburn. RIP Bonez!

  11. Aphro says:

    How da Simon(e) only simple.

  12. friend says:

    Where u there to judge jermaine rahburn no if u dont have any thing good to say then shut ur dam mouth up. For those who say to kill him maybe u da the one tht shld be heng pobably u da wa reall @$$ to say that. jermaine was a loving person rather make friend than cause a crime he was been provoke by cruz people who where there need to say what happened. peace be with u all. ……………

  13. jane says:

    I think u guys shuld hear bout side of the story instead of listeng to one side! I kno that child frm he he was A baby he would never do $#!% like tht that guy must have provoke him! I kno he act in self defense! Dnt worry rhaburn ur family will fight for u to the end jus be strong!

  14. stopthebs says:

    what the f@@k wrong with Belize it’s a shame a young recruit had to die because of the stupid leadership in the BDF giving a 17 year old a weapon like that ,this lee bwai under age to be given such resposibility . i would sue all off them from the government to those imbecile in the BDF.what a shame.. power the people

  15. friend says:

    about the comment just above with the person stating that Jermaine Rahburn is a loving person rather,make friends than cause a crime , i have this message to you . you are a criminal too, you are a very foolish person with all respect. you are most his family.regardless of that argument or the situation to say Rahburn had no right to have pull that trigger. from that it is clear to see that he is a very angry ,illiterate , foolish and dangerous person. he need to be dealt with severely; he doesn’t belongs in the force he belong in jail with real dam good punishment with no visits and be treated like an object of no use. Cruz was my intake brother, and i could say that, nothing like this had occur in our time. RIP INTAKE YOU WILL BE MISSED AND NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

  16. Aphro says:

    Jermaine grew up on Militia Hall base. He never saw soldiers choose that route to solve their quarrels. Obviously his ‘friend’ didn’t train him the proper way to handle situation and he killed someone. We all love those close to us but when they f* up like that, and example need to be made. Provocation is not an excuse to murder anyone, friend… and if he remains in society, he will become a detriment to society. The BDF cannot ‘fix’ him. Friend you decided his fate long ago when you turned a blind eye to his tell tale attitude. An eye for an eye. Hang him beside Bert Vasquez.

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