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Four held for mass shooting in Hopkins Village

Tonight the country is reeling from a mass shooting that left two persons dead and eight injured. Three men are tonight in police custody waiting to be arraigned for this shocking crime. They are 28-year-old Brian Andrews, 28-year-old Kenyon Moore, and 35-year-old Sherwin Moore. Also in police custody is a retired Canadian soldier who drove the getaway vehicle. He is expected to be charged with abetment to commit murder. The three men are accused of firing at a crowd inside the Wabinaha nightclub in Hopkins Village early on Sunday morning. When the gunfire ceased and the club was emptied, two persons were seen dead. They are 23-year-old Noah Moro and 56-year-old Emilio Garcia. Among the injured were three police officers namely Superintendent Gerald Jones, Corporal Rudel Pau, and Constable, Pamela Zuniga. The other persons shot and injured are 18-year-old Leanna Buller, 18-year-old Paul Bradley, 25-year-old Shaquita Ellis, 20-year-old Jada Maximo and a 15-year-old minor. Following the mass shooting, the men escaped until they were caught near Silkgrass Village yesterday evening. The incident shocked and angered the nation as organizations and members of the public continue to demand justice, and that is what will be delivered says Police Commissioner Chester Williams. Love News reporter, Vejea Alvarez, spoke to one of the survivors. Here is that story. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Two dead- eight injured including three police officers and a minor, during a shocking mass shooting in the quiet Hopkins Village early on Sunday morning. Investigators believe the three men who released a barrage of bullets on an unsuspecting crowd are 28-year-old Brian Andrews, 28-year-old Kenyon Moore, and 35-year-old Sherwin Moore. Just after one o’clock that morning the men kicked open the doors of the Wabinaha nightclub and shot 23-year-old Noah Moro dead. The Sittee River residents then indiscriminately opened fire into the packed club, also killing 56-year-old Emilio Garcia. Chaos then ensued and customers ran towards the only exit. Paul Bradley Junior was shot five times and fortunately, survived. Bradley today telling Love News the horror he experienced. 

Paul Bradley Jr., Shooting Victim: “It was like a movie scene. I can’t tell you much because it was just like I was not there because when they hit me I was, I couldn’t do anything.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: In his attempt to escape the hail of bullets. Bradley says he ran into one of the shooters. 

Paul Bradley Jr., Shooting Victim: “I was trying to run through the exit door because they were shooting from the entrance but it was locked. The exit door was locked and when I was trying to run through there, the gunmen were running through there too so I had to take cover behind something and they stomped that open and continued shooting up again.” 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: But what could have sparked such a violent and deadly assault? According to the Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, who was on the grounds within hours of the tragedy, it may have been the result of an altercation between the first victim, Noah Moro, and one of the alleged triggermen.

Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: There was this dance at Wabinaha Nightclub in Hopkins. There was this young man, Mr. Moro who happened to be from Roaring Creek. He was there with his girlfriend. They were socialising at the nightclub like other patrons were. These men, the accused men, approached the young lady that Moro was with and began to court her. She was not paying them any mind. She told them that she was with someone. The guy, Moro, came and inquired what was taking place and there was an altercation, an argument between the two sides. The suspects left briefly and came back into the nightclub by stomping the door open, opened fire first at Moro and then indiscriminately in the nightclub. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: After terrorizing the patrons with over 21 gunshots the gunmen escaped in two separate vehicles, one of which was driven by a retired Canadian national. Due to quick police response, the Canadian was detained and his vehicle impounded. It was until four o’clock on Monday afternoon that the 3 gunmen were detained while travelling inside a vehicle driven by their attorney. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “We did a number of things. Ensured that we secured witnesses. Ensured that we secured evidence. Ensured we secured footages and many other things to complement the investigation because what we want to do is to make sure we put together the best possible case so that when the time for trial comes we can secure a conviction. We also installed within the Stann Creek district and particular the Hopkins, Sittee River, Silk Grass area, two separate teams from the SBU that will engage searching for the accused men and so yesterday, we were on the Southern Highway in the vicinity of Silk Grass when police intercepted a vehicle driven by an attorney and within the vehicle had the three accused men. They were taken into custody. The attorney was questioned and he indicated that he was about to take the young men into police custody. We do believe his story because he had called about 40 minutes earlier indicating that he was going to surrender the young men to the police so we do not believe that the attorney was in any way trying to hide these accused men. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The suspected gunmen were then taken into police custody for questioning but are not cooperating with police. Nonetheless, ComPol Williams says that the department has built a solid case to prove that the men were behind the vile and violent act.

Chester Williams, Commissioner, Belize Police Department: “The attorney told the accused men not to cooperate with police investigation and so they all chose to remain silent during the entire interview process. Notwithstanding that, we do have sufficient evidence based on eye scene witness as well as video footage to indicate that these three young men are the culprits and so this morning and so this morning what will be done is that the police will be conducting ID parades just to be sure. May I say that we do have witnesses who identify them positively, who know them but just to make sure we have additional eye scene witness testimonies that will be able to allow other witnesses to be able to identify them in court when the trial comes.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: And while the police are now closer to cracking the case, for survivors like Bradley, the emotional trauma, much like the wounds he sustained, will take much time to heal.

Paul Bradley Jr., Shooting Victim: “I got shot five times too and I was just gone from myself. I got shot in my left shoulder, twice in my left foot, on the right side and my testicle. That just changed my mindset from going anywhere. That just changed my mindset from doing anything.” 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: For the family of 23-year-old Noah Moro, his death has come as complete shock that has left them in wonder why.

Sister of Deceased: “My brother Noah, he is one of the most humble persons you would ever meet. He is quite loving, especially to his nieces and nephews. This morning I got the news around 2:00. Of course it took a while to process. Nonetheless, I relayed the message, the news sorry, of the incident to my family. From there they proceeded to Hopkins. The body was brought up this morning so we are grateful for that. The family, like I said earlier, is having a hard time processing what happened but, nonetheless, we are a loving family and we will stay together. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The residents of Hopkins Village, similarly to the families of Garcia and Moro, are now in the process of healing from this atrocious act.

Vejea Alvarez, Love News.