A shooting last night in Belize City left one man injured. It happened after eight o’clock near Euphrates Avenue and involved two police officers and a civilian. The incident is said to be the result of the victim resisting arrest but his family is denying that claim. Vejea Alvarez tells us more.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: This was the chaotic scene that unfolded just after 8 o’clock last night on Euphrates Avenue. The amateur footage captured 22-year-old Rondane Swaso being placed in the back of a police mobile after being shot by a cop.
Swaso was shot to the chest after he reportedly tried evading police detention for handling stolen goods. Police say that officers Zani Savala and Cory Cleland were trying to detain Swaso when he made a run for it in nearby bushes. While the officers were calling for backup, Swaso reportedly emerged from the bushes and attempted to grab PC Savala’s firearm. A struggle ensued, resulting in the firearm going off and Swaso being shot. Swaso’s girlfriend, who chose to speak off camera, says that according to Swaso the police’s version of the incident is not factual.
Girlfriend: “Witnesses say that they had two police officers one that was in front of the bushes and one that was in the ball court. Rondane and his coworker they were walking to go toward our lane because it was right at the lane from our house that it happened so it’s the one that was in front of the bushes shot him and when he shot the police officer that was in the court he dropped down in shock because he thought it was him that got shot and the one that was in front of the bush he ended up leaving the crime scene because he didn’t expect what happened because when he said stop he just said stopped my boy turned around you know and when bally was pointing at him and shot him.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: So Rondane is saying that at no time he tried to take the officer’s firearm ?
Girlfriend: “No he was shocked when he said that. Literally tears fell from his eye.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Swaso’s girlfriend says he had just left home when the incident occurred and remains in critical condition with the bullet still lodged in his chest.
Girlfriend: “Five minutes when he left the house I heard one single gunshot that is when I heard, I didn’t expect to get that news that it was him that got shot. A lot of people were about, kids were in the ball court at that time, people were playing, vendors, everybody were about a lot of witnesses and stuff like that. So when I ran out there a lady came to me and said “Um sweetie you know they just shot your boy.” and I said “Yes ma’am they just told me.” and she said “Yes and they left him right down there.” and she said if I didn’t go to him and check him and see if he was breathing they would have left him right down there to die.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Our newsroom reached out to the Commissioner of Police Chester Williams who says that investigators are still in the process of gathering details and stated that on Monday he will be speaking on the matter. Swaso’s family also denied the police’s claim that he was in possession of stolen goods.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Are you able to say if indeed he was being detained for stolen goods ?
Girlfriend: “No. We just got that news this morning.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: So he had no idea about that ?
Girlfriend: “No. He went to buy at the burrito spot with his coworker where he always goes and he normally goes with my daughter, this is one time he didn’t go with my baby because it looked like it was going to drizzle. But no stolen, nobody even told us anything. We came to the hospital they didn’t catch him with anything. When the police came last time they asked the doctor for his bag and things that he had on and all they found were his money, his clothes, his uniform , his ID that he had on him.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: According to Swaso’s family, they will now be seeking legal action against the police department. Vejea Alvarez, Love News.