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Commissioner of Police explains why Newtown Barracks gunplay trio may lose gun licenses

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Posted: Monday, May 16, 2022. 9:32 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Police investigation has led to the arrest and charge of Tarique James, 25, and Kenyon Tillett, 29, on charges of, respectively, discharging a firearm in public (both), aggravated assault and wounding.

The third man at the center of the incident, Micah Goodin, deputy mayor of Belize City, has according to police investigations not been accused of direct involvement, as according to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams “he may have intervened to quell the dispute between the parties,” and left the scene with his group before the exchange of gunfire. He was subsequently cleared by an initial police investigation.

Nonetheless, the gun play may lead to the loss of their gun licenses, pending further investigation.

Commissioner Williams announced during the briefing, “I have since directed the police to take away all firearms from the three individuals who are in possession of licensed firearms. The firearms will be sent to the forensic lab for ballistic purposes as we still need to ascertain whether all three guns were fired, or only two. I have also directed the O.C./C.I.B. to submit to my office a report on the incident and I am going to write to all three license holders to show reasons why their firearms license should not be revoked.”

The Commissioner stated that having a firearm license is a privilege that comes with great responsibility and that if it is proven that the men had consumed alcohol while carrying a weapon, that is a severe violation: “Going to a nightclub or a bar and drink and having your firearm on your person is an offence and it goes squarely against what is expected of a licensed firearms holder and so if it is that there is any evidence to suggest that these persons were consuming alcohol and had their weapons on them, that should be sufficient grounds to have their license revoked. Once that is the case, I certainly will ensure that their licenses are revoked.”

The Commissioner said Goodin in particular was not given special treatment, having been held for up to 36 hours until the Police were satisfied that he was not involved. He said he was unaware of the reason for the confrontation that led to the incident.

According to the Commissioner, Tillett said he did not see who shot at him, only that it came from Goodin’s vehicle. He also confirmed that Tillett said Goodin had his firearm exposed at his side, but nothing to say he used it, whereas James admitted to officers that he used his. Nonetheless, the prohibition of use of alcohol while carrying a weapon still stands and can be the foundation upon which the firearm license is revoked.

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