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May 31, 2006

Security guard killed for gun in Faber?s Rd. shooting

Story PictureThe recent spate of deadly violence in Belize City appears to have sealed the fate of law abiding residents: we are living at the mercy of criminals … armed attackers who have no fear of committing heinous crimes in homes, cars, and even on the street in broad daylight. Police have acted quickly, to make and arrest, on the latest atrocity, but that fact is little comfort to the family as News Five’s Alyssa Noble reports.

Alyssa Noble, Reporting
Tonight another Belize City family is in mourning, following a brazen mid-morning shooting on Faber?s Road. According to eyewitnesses, just after ten this morning, sixty-two year old security guard Oliver Blanco was riding his bicycle past Wilton Cumberbatch field when he was approached by two masked young men. Without warning, one of them pulled out a weapon and fired five times, of which three made there target. The bullets struck Blanco, including what is believed to be a fatal shot to the neck. The victim fell off his bike and into the drain.

According to Eleanor Blanco, minutes before the shooting, her husband had rushed home from his job at Western Union on Regent Street because a neighbour called and told him that someone was breaking into their home on Freedom Street.

Eleanor Blanco, Wife of Deceased
?When he comes, he said everything alright? I said yes, I no see nothing no gawn on so fram I tell ah, I gweng back to work. And then I said let?s put the padlock on the door to be safe, because you know your son no come home until its night. Anyways, I left him and went back to work. Now I was at work maybe like fifteen minutes, when my son come and tell me, mami I got bad news for you he said, your husband got shot. I said what! I had to sit down on the step because I was so shocked, I couldn?t believe it.?

The Blanco family and investigating officers believe Oliver Blanco was shot because of the nine millimetre handgun strapped to his hip.

Eleanor Blanco
?Government has to do something with those senseless killing that?s happening. Innocent people are dying. Just because of a firearm, that?s what they shot him for definitely. Police said that he had a close struggle, so the person was trying to take the gun away from him. The government has to do something with the senseless killing that?s going on. Jesus Christ everyone love one the go and government is not doing anything about it.?

A.S.P. Chester Williams, Head, C.I.B.
?Mr. Blanco was carrying a nine millimetre pistol, which is the property of the security company he works with which is Anchor Security Company, and apparently he was at his work place on Regent Street, when he was visited and informed that his home was been burglarized. He asked his boss for time of so that he could go check on his residence and when he got there he realized that the call was bogus. So obviously it seems that he was lured to his home, to the area by these people so that they could rob him of his firearm.?

There is a police booth in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene but tonight we understand that officers were forced to wait for transportation before responding to the shooting. Witnesses could only watch helplessly as the two suspects fled the area on foot.

Chester Williams
?The officers at the Yabra precinct are not officers who carry firearms and they will not go and respond alone. There is only one policeman there and he will not respond alone to an incident involving guns barehanded, so if he was slow to respond I don?t see it wrong. It?s better to be a coward than to be a dead hero.?

But while the neighbourhood grieves, distraught family members speak of a new and frightening reality in Belize City.

Kenton Blanco, Son of the Deceased
?I hurt right now. I no gat nothing fi seh, m?am, I?ll be honest, I hurt right now, I just wah meditate right now. I just gat fi seh, dat whosoever do this, I will put it the legal di way, the street way and the law way. Once you real to the street, you have seven days of peace after then you wah know.?

It is believed that upon hearing that his home was being burglarized, Blanco simply forgot to remove and secure the weapon. Oliver Blanco had worked as security guard for the past decade, the last five at the Chamber of Commerce Western Union Branch.

Danette Burns, Western Union Manager
?He was almost like a dad, he could do anything, he used to do anything and everything for us. He treated us like we were his kids. So to find out about this news today, it?s really a shocker to everybody here at Western Union and at the Chamber. The Chamber on a whole, as well as a lot of Belizeans are very tired and fed up with the level of crime that now exists in Belize. And because of that, we are immediately launching a five thousand dollar reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of this crime. We feel that this is really an injustice for this to have been done.?

Eleanor Blanco
?Heng deh. Maybe some of this senseless killing will stop if we start hanging them. I don?t care, hang them. Because this is only senseless killing, good innocent people who are trying to make a living that are trying to provide for their family and this is what is happening, senseless killing.?

Chester Williams
?The police conducted an investigation into the matter and so far has detained two suspects. One Edward Arthurs, he has placed on an identification parade and has been positively identified as one of the suspects in connection with the murder of Mr. Blanco. He has been arrested and charged with the crime of murder and will be taken to court tomorrow. The other suspect who was wearing a mask at the time, we have him in custody but I will not say his name at this time because we have other things we need to do before he could be charged jointly with Edward Arthurs.?

Alyssa Noble reporting for News Five.

According to our unofficial count, the Blanco murder is the thirty-first of the year. The attack also marks the fourth crime to be committed against a senior citizen in the last month.

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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