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Police hunt down two brothers, known gang affiliates, in J’Bria Michelle Bowens murder

Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2022. 9:37 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Police have hit the ground running in the effort to find who is responsible for Friday night’s killing of 23-year-old J’Bria Michelle Bowens, and as of this afternoon have narrowed their focus to a pair of brothers well known to authorities.

Police Commissioner Chester Williams personally flew to San Pedro Town this morning to coordinate the police response, headed by Officer Commanding Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner Hilberto Romero, and Senior Superintendent of Police Alejandro Cowo, the officer in command of the Coastal Executive Office, which covers Ambergris Caye. Both men are experienced as crime investigators.

This morning, the Commissioner told Channel 7 News one-on-one that Bowens was not the intended target; that the weapon used was a suspected M-16 or AR-15 rifle fired indiscriminately into a crowd in front of Jaguars Nightclub across from Central Park, and that the shooting is believed to be related to gang and drug activity on the island.

Police had almost immediately detained the suspected gunmen after receiving positive identifications from witnesses and were as of this afternoon searching for their target, as well as preparing charges for the accused. Those charges include murder and possession of a firearm with intent to participate in gang activity.

But the Commissioner also noted that the accused were out on bail on previous charges and that their actions have effectively transgressed the conditions they were asked to abide by in order to receive bail, and so the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has been contacted to lodge a request to have the Supreme Court revoke their bail and remand them to prison.

The Commissioner along with the Ministers of Tourism and National Security, as well as the Town’s Mayor and area representative from San Pedro met with J’Bria Bowen’s family and offered their condolences. They assured the family they will “Leave no stone unturned in finding those who are responsible and to bring them to justice.” The Commissioner also sought to reassure tourists that the incident had nothing to do with Bowens’ status in Belize; she was simply caught up in the crossfire.

An official post-mortem examination on her body was conducted this afternoon with the cause of death certified to be cervical spinal cord transection due to penetrating trauma to the neck due to a gunshot wound – the fatal bullet pierced her neck and snapped the cervical spinal cord in two.

Reports from the island say San Pedro’s New Year’s Eve countdown will go on but the venue will no longer be Central Park. Instead, the countdown is set to take place at the Saca Chispas field.

 

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