Shamar Nicholas becomes the second teenager for the month of July to be killed in the middle of committing a crime. On July 22, nineteen-year-old, Ashton Samuels was shot and killed by the owner of Jacky’s Supermarket as he attempted to rob the owner in Western Paradise Community on the George Price Highway. Sunday’s incident that saw 16-year-old, Shamar Nicholas shot to death moments, after he killed Matthew Gutierrez, has now become an internal investigation to see if excessive force was used as is being claimed by the family.
ASP. Fitzroy Yearwood, Public Relations Officer, Belize Police Department: “Well as in all other cases we do process the scene the same way as if it was an act committed by a civilian. We do all the forensics and we have an internal investigation and definitely this ties in directly with the criminal investigation because at the end of the day it’s not just a loss of the alleged shooter by the police but the loss of life at the hands of that person also. So it is treated in the same manner and when the officer has been cleared we do update because at the end of the day in these police related incidents we do seek advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution because we wouldn’t want to disenfranchise anybody not the police nor the members of the public. So we owe it to the general public to give them an update as timely as possible.”
The claim of excessive force is not the only one being made by the family of Shamar Nicholas. According to reports, the family is now alleging that the police are framing the teenager. Assistant Superintendent of Police, Fitzroy Yearwood responded to the allegations.
ASP. Fitzroy Yearwood, Public Relations Officer, Belize Police Department: “No parent would want to hear that their child is involved in any kind of shooting of this sort more so to hear that that child was killed whilst being the orchestrator of a crime. So like I said it is their right to get a private investigator if they want to but we have to make our findings very public at the end of the day. If they believe that he was not dealt with with justifiable force then we invite them to come and make a report because I am certain that you have seen the results of our professional standards branch investigations lately especially under this Commissioner of Police and our new minister where these results are real, if the officers are found guilty of committing whatever offence they commit they are hence charged and taken in front of the court. And if it deems that the Commissioner of Police must terminate their service or the Public Service Commission must do that I am certain that you have seen at least ten or so maybe more that have been in street terms laid off because of their action. We also have a process that the family if they believe that he was not involved then they can also take it to the court and sue whoever officer is named in this related shooting. There are a lot of avenues that they can take but we at the department must ensure that we do proper investigation so that we can give out real results to the general public.”
ASP Yearwood noted that the department is yet to pinpoint which officer fired the shot that killed Nicholas.