Home Invasion Goes Terribly Wrong
Tonight, a well-known businessman from the Cayo District is dead, a cop is in the hospital, and two men are behind bars following a home invasion that turned into murder. The incident occurred on Easter Sunday and sent shockwaves through the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The early morning murder is believed to be an inside job and police say that money may have been the motive. Reporter Vejea Alvarez with the assistance of Cayo Correspondent Eliu Yacab has the story.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: It was like a movie scene that played out in broad daylight on Tres Puntas Road in San Ignacio Town on Easter Sunday morning. Just before 10 o’clock, two armed men barged into the home of 72-year-old William Smith and held the elderly man and his family hostage. The gun-wielding crooks fired several shots alerting neighbors and ultimately the police. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, says a team of cops swarmed the building and were met with gunfire.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Upon police arrival at the location they came under fire by those persons who were engaged in the home invasion. Police returned fire and one of the individuals was caught to the leg and he was subsequently detained by the police. A search of the house that was being burglarized the police found the lifeless body of the homeowner, one Mr.Smith with gunshot injuries.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The elderly retiree succumbed while his sister 71-year-old sister Dorothy Lois August received several cut wounds during the deadly ordeal. Eldridge Mcdougal, Smith’s son, says the news of his father’s death came as a complete shock.
Eldridge McDougal, Smith’s Son: “My elder son he called and he told me that he heard that there was some shots in the area on top of the hill and he asked me to find out exactly what the shots were all about. From there I went down by the police station and that’s when I saw one of the workers from my dad and he came out and his eye was red, looked like he had been crying and he told me that he is sorry for what had happened and bid condolences to me on the loss of my dad.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Police launched a manhunt and were able to capture the second assailant. Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, explained that investigators also recovered two stolen firearms and are in the process of laying charges on multiple persons.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Those two firearms have also been recovered by the police as well as one of the weapons used by the burglars when they entered the home, that weapon was also recovered by the police. And so at this time the investigators are putting the pieces together and hopefully we should be able to lay charges against those two individuals today as well as some who we believe were involved in the setting up of the entire matter they will be charged for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: But what was the motive behind the deadly attack? Smith’s son believes that his father was targeted for money. Smith recently returned to Belize and was in the process of constructing a resort beside his home.
Eldridge McDougal, Smith’s Son: “He’s an icon here in San Ignacio and everybody knows that he’s a man that lives in the states and that he is building a building and attract attention to many around the country and that probably sparked some kind of attention to people that he’s back and forth to Belize and the states and probably that’s why he became a target. He left in December and then around the 17th of December he came back in February so he’s been here like a month now.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While Smith, unfortunately, passed away, investigators believe the Golden citizen went down fighting. Police are looking into whether Smith was able to free himself and shot one of his assailants.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “At this time two suspects have gunshot injuries. One of them we believe was shot by the home owner but ballistics is going to confirm that and the other one we believe was shot by the police while he was escaping from the scene so there is where we are with that at this time.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Smith’s death has left residents of the twin towns mourning. His son described the elderly man as a loving and humble person who was well-known and loved by many.
Eldridge McDougal, Smith’s Son: “He was a very well known and prominent person here in San Ignacio. He held a high position at United Nations working for Belize for many years and he is a retired person from the UN, he used to live in New York and now he decided that he wanted to come to Belize to build a resort and you know to come and retire here in Belize and that’s who he is but he was a well known person and gave a lot of jobs to people here in Cayo.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News.