Two men were killed within hours of each other yesterday in Belize City. That was not the end of the violence as at around seventy thirty last night, another life was lost. Twenty two year old Michael Lopez of Jones Street was executed, reportedly by two perpetrators on a motorcycle. Today, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams commented that they were able to apprehend the two men less than a mile away from the scene.
Chester Williams: “Upon arrival police observed one Michael Lopez suffering from gunshot wounds to the head. He was immediately transported to the hospital and sometime after 9pm he succumbed to his injuries. Police have since detained two suspects in respect to that incident. The suspects were on a motorcycle and they were seen fleeing the area. The clothing that the suspects were wearing at the time had blood stains on it or what appeared to be blood stains so from an investigating standpoint we believe that the suspects may have accosted the victim and they had a struggle and during that struggle the victim was shot hence the blood that was found on the clothing of the suspects, we believe is from the victim. So we are in the process of packaging the shirts that the two suspects were wearing and those will be sent to the Miami DNA lab for DNA testing for us to be able to determine whether or not the blood on the clothing that they had on has the same genetic makeup of that of the victim.”
The victim was not known to police as a gang affiliate. Assistant Commissioner Williams noted that the shooting was retaliation to a previous murder in the area.
Chester Williams:”We do not believe that it is retaliation for any of the shootings yesterday but we do believe it is a retaliation for the shooting death of Mr.Morrison which took place in the St.Martins Area about a week and a couple days ago. The victim of that murder from what we know he is not from any gang but the area that he lives has persons who are from a particular gang and it means it is a situation where you can’t catch Harry you’ll catch his shirt. It is gang related from what our investigation is showing so far.”
With the recent murder in the area less than two weeks ago, Police had placed two patrols in the area, however, with yesterday’s murders; one of those patrols was withdrawn from the Saint Martin’s area and sent to a different location.
Chester Williams: “We have heightened our presence in the Martins area but what took place yesterday, and I discussed this yesterday, that we are seriously short of human resources and we have to be playing checkers so with what took place yesterday I had to withdraw some resources from the marginalized area because we have now Banack, George Street, South Side, Craal Road feuding so I have to find a way how we can maintain presence in those areas as well. So the area where this shooting took place we do have a patrol there but I had to withdraw one of my two patrols to be able to cover the Banack and Curacao area. We are regrouping and we begin to do our mediations again very shortly. We must do a mediation because things on the streets right now are really tense. We have some intense rivalries taking place right now on South Side Belize city between the different factions of the gang and if we do not meet with them it will get worse so I think I saw brother Nuri here but we will be regrouping and do some mediations to see how we can address some of the issues that are taking place on the streets.”
As assistant Commissioner Williams mentioned, Lopez was not known as a gang member, his sister Shelmadine Jones agreed, saying he was not that type of person.
Chester Williams: “He was a helpful person, a nice person, friendly he didn’t mess around with anybody. He went from work to home. If someone ask his to do something he would do it and come straight back home. He didn’t hang out. He wasn’t the type of person to be in any gang. He was always happy.”
Lopez leaves behind a two year old son.