The brief calm from gun related murders was shattered last night in Belize City when 37-year-old Marcia Downs was fatally shot once in her head, just outside her house on Handy Side Street. This morning police said that their investigation is in its preliminary phase but have detained one person in connection with Downs homicide. There are a number of questions that linger unanswered as Downs’ death is an unexpected tragedy for her family and friends, although, as we learned today, she mentioned being threatened several weeks back. Dalila Ical has more on this story.
A lone gunman brazenly walked through a short alley that leads to Marcia Downs’ house off Handy Side Street where police say he met and fatally wounded her. It happened shortly after eight o’clock on Wednesday night.
Inspector Wilfred Ferrufino – CIB: “Ms.Downs was at her residence on Handyside Street when a male person was approaching her residence through an unnamed alley. She approached that individual and he fired two shots one of which caught Ms.Downs and caused the fatal injury.
It is unclear whether Downs was summoned outside or if she was expecting someone at the time, but her sister Idoly Neal told us today off camera what she has been told happened.
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “She was at home and they said that she got up to come out side and at the same time her boyfriend texted her and right there she got shot.”
Reporter: Was she living alone with her children?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “With her granny.”
Reporter: And they were at home at the time when this happened?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “Yes ma’am. ‘was inside her room lying down.”
Reporter: The granny as well?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “M’hm she was making panades at the moment.”
Downs was hit once to the head. She was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where she died around 9:30 while receiving treatment.
Today Inspector Wilfred Ferrufino told the media that investigators believe Downs may have known her killer but are still unable to ascertain whether she was targeted and why.
Inspector Wilfred Ferrufino – CIB: Wilfed Ferufino: “Investigation is pretty young at this stage and we don’t have a motive at this time, we are looking into some leads and as the investigation goes on then we will confirm.”
Neal said that while she and her sister did not see each other much, a few weeks back they reached out to her after Downs made an alarming post on her Facebook account.
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “She had an accident the other day on Facebook that they were threatening her and at the same time because we are all friends with her and she texted me and told me and I asked her what happened and she said problem but I told her ‘sis don’t worry we have each other’s backs.’ but we didn’t know what the problem was.”
Reporter: When was this ?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “In this same month February or March.”
Reporter: So she never explained exactly what the problem was ?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “Never told us what the problem was because maybe if we had known we would have dealt with it too.”
Reporter: These threats were coming from a man?
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “Well we didn’t know who.”
Inspector Wilfred Ferrufino – CIB: “But a this point we have nothing concrete to say that it was gang related or it was a domestic issue or anything to that effect. We will wait until the investigation is concluded and then we may give a motive.”
Police detained on person about an hour after Downs was shot in the area. However, they have not recovered the firearm. While investigations continue, Downs’ family recall fond memories of her.
Idoly Neal – Sister of deceased: “Well my sister I could remember the last time and we were talking about my problems because I have problems home and she encouraged me and we hugged each other and told each other that we loved one another and that was the last time I saw her.”
There were reports that a second shooting happened shortly after in the immediate area where Downs was shot but police say they have no such report so far.