Posted: Monday, April 11, 2022. 9:44 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police, called the press to Belmopan to address a recent rise in killings – five in four days from Thursday to Sunday.
The Commissioner first distinguished the motives in each incident from the others: “These incidents I must say are isolated from each other; in the sense that the one in Mahogany Heights, the first one [Tyreek August], we believe that that may have been somewhat gang-related; the second one in Mahogany Heights [Carlton Gladden] that might have some drug connection or relation. Then in Belize City, the first murder [Mark Lord], from what we have been made to understand through our investigation stem from a fight between two fathers. And then the second murder in Belize City, we are still trying to figure out what went wrong, but you will recall that the fellow [John] King was shot six months ago at the same house around the same time, and we are still trying to figure out what may have caused that incident with him. And in terms of the one in Belmopan with Daniel Gutierrez, we have two persons in custody who we believe may have something to do with his death due to some previous threat that they had sent to him.”
While the specific motive has not been uncovered, the Commissioner contended that while not a gang member himself, King was known to have gang associates.
Commissioner Williams continued in respect to arrests in the cases: “There is a lot that we are doing to deal with these matters from an investigative standpoint as well as from an operational standpoint. In respect to the first Mahogany Heights murder, we currently have the suspect in custody. We have sufficient to charge at this time so we should be charging [the suspect] with the crime of murder by the end of the day today. In respect to the first murder in Belize City, thanks to quick police response, they were able to apprehend two persons and recover the weapon of choice that was used in the commission of that murder, which is a nine-millimetre pistol. We have recorded statements from the officers who were in the area and saw the two men running and we should have enough to charge at least one of those two suspects today with murder. And we continue to deal with the others to gather evidence.”
Operationally, the Commissioner said that while they continue to go after gang members, they do not expect retaliation for recent incidents and the Leadership Intervention Unit is active in dealing with simmering conflicts.
The former Officer Commanding Eastern Division (South) readily admits the City is “not an easy place to police,” with the proximity of sets and the ingrained propensity of youths to anger and temper; but even with that, the City has been “relatively calm,” and hopefully this is a storm that will pass by addressing what is underlying.
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