The Police officer’s statement is not the only document that made its way to our news centre. As a matter of fact, copies of the signed statements by the two BDF soldiers were also sent to us. Through those documents, Love News has learnt that the two BDF soldiers who were with PC Juan Morales on the night of Jesse Escobar’s killing have also provided a statement to their superiors within the force. The statement by the soldier who pulled the trigger has claimed that it was an accidental shooting. Sources tell Love News that Valencia, in his official statement to the Belize Defence Force indicates that he accidently squeezed the trigger. In that statement, Valencia explained that Escobar told him that he would take his weapon and kill him with it. We join Senior Reporter Hipolito Novelo for more on this.
Hipilito Novelo, Love FM News: BDF soldier, R Valencio says that he accidentally shot Jessie Escobar. In a statement given to the Belize Defence Forces, Valencio states “In fright, I accidentally squeezed the trigger and I hurried and took about two to three steps backwards when Jessie Escobar fell to the ground.”
He says “Still in fright with my weapon on my shoulder I went to the right corner of the shop where I stood for a while.”
Valencio says that during the confrontation, Escobar advanced at him telling him that he would take his weapon and kill him with him. In the statement, Valencio says that he saw Escobar’s hand raising while he heard a shot fired near his feet. That shot was fired by PC Juan Morales. In fright, Valencio says, he accidentally squeezed the trigger. UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte commented on the matter.
Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “This PUP government has created an environment that has people on edge, that has people tense, that has people frustrated to the point where we have soldiers killing soldiers. This is a most unfortunate situation. Anybody looking at that and the public is saying ‘Bwai this look like murder.’ and you cannot help but think that that’s the case. I want to respect the process so I won’t make any pronouncements on that. There will be an investigation, the DPP has a job to look at that video, to look at the evidence and make a determination that she is satisfied with but that to epitomizes the level of anger and frustration that exists not just with certain public servants but especially with particular public servants; nurses, policemen, soldiers and so it is most unfortunate, it is a tragedy. On behalf of the UDP I want to once again give condolences to the family. We feel extremely concerned about the welfare of that child in the video. It has to be a terrorizing experience for a child to see that, for the family of the person to see that. Im my view that soldier should have exercised more restraint but then you also have to ask why on earth this government have soldiers on the street with automatic weapons, high powered weapons and they refuse to say that we are in a state of emergency. So when you have that that is what they’re going to experience. The government needs to get involved with running this country and stop being concerned about just being in power. They need to come up with policies, they need to come up with more training so that this cannot occur again.”
Hipilito Novelo, Love FM News: Opposition Leader Moses Shyne Barrow says it’s an act of murder, UDP area rep Tracy Panton says cold blooded murder, would you characterize it the same ?
Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “Well that is their opinion they’re entitled to their opinion. It’s unfortunate for me that I was trained in a particular way and my position is that the authorities must be given the opportunity to investigate, to determine what they want to determine and leave that to the DPP and the Commissioner of Police.”