It’s been six years since Akeem Thimbriel and Shwan Lopez were violently gunned down in Teakettle Village, Cayo. Back then the double murder shocked the community but now the community, particularly the family, is upset and disappointed. That’s because, despite evidence collected and suspects identified, no one has been charged for the crime. Lopez’s brother Paul posted on Facebook saying (quote) “My brother Shawn Lopez and cousin Akeem Thimbriel are turning in their graves. And I would imagine this is the case for many loved ones across the nation, gone too soon. While truth presses to see sunlight from its hiding place in the belly of the beast, fear wreaks havoc among the guilty.” (end of quote). The family this morning held a demonstration to express their discount on the stagnant nature of the investigation. Reporter Vejea Alvarez has the story.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: Justice delayed is justice denied. This Sunday will mark six years since Camalote villagers Akeem Thimbriel and Shawn Lopez were innocently gunned down and the police are yet to make an arrest in their murders. In 2016, the cousins were ambushed and killed by gunmen a stone’s throw from Thimbriel’s home. His father, Irvin, claims that a mountain of evidence was collected in the case but the police did absolutely nothing with it.
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: “We strongly believe that, and more evidence coming from the police themself, the last time the police called me and they gave me some information, he told me, which is something I did not know, that a phone was found on the scene. That phone belonged to a policeman because when they opened it, they found that out. They asked him and he said that he loaned the phone to another suspect in this thing. Now, our simple question is this. How then do you allow those two persons to walk away? And the next thing too is that ballistic testing was done on the gun from one of the other suspects. That panned out because they were able to show that that gun, because they found a slug in my son’s hand and when they did the ballistics test on that slug, they found the gun. That person was allowed to walk away and go to the states.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: A cover up is what Thimbriel believes is taking place and that’s why he and a group of residents chose to protest in front of the Belmopan Police Station. The heartbroken father has been following the case for over a decade and he says that throughout that time, he has noticed a systematic delay in the investigation.
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: “The DPP six years ago gave directive to the police to pick up six pieces of information. Now six years has elapsed. Six years! What is the system doing? One time when I went to them and asked for the information, they couldn’t even tell me where the file was. So who is actually following up this thing? What system is in place?”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: Thimbriel has made numerous efforts to demand justice for his son and nephew but he strongly believes they have fallen on deaf ears. He says that the recent arrest of former Ambassador Alexis Rosado, who is accused of serious crimes allegedly committed over a decade ago, spurred him to take to the streets once again demanding justice.
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: “When I saw the arrest made last week of the Ambassador, that really triggered something in me and I said “If we could have reached this place where we can arrest an ambassador, why is it that then in our case and in the case of many other persons, how come nothing can be done about those things where so much evidence is there on the table, you know? So why is it that arrests can be made in the case of that ambassador? I don’t even know Ambassador Rosado. I don’t know him but just the comparing those two things together, it moved me to say, man, something has to be done.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: Eye witnesses of the murder had reported seeing an F150 pickup truck in the area but Thimbriel says when he was given the police report through the efforts of former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, not only did police recover the wrong model vehicle but the date of the report was off by a year. This, he says, is a clear sign of recklessness and a perversion of justice.
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: It was taken to the House by the area rep. of Cayo South. That spurred the Prime Minister to get a report and give it to me. You know when I read that report, that report has a date that is one year wrong, signed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and by the officer in charge of Belmopan.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: The then.
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: “The then. I mean, what are we doing? This is supposed to be, in that report it is shown that they were supposed to get an F150. The police went and got a Rav, em, a 4Runner.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: You mean the vehicle? Referring to the vehicle?
Pastor Irvin Thimbriel, Father of Akeem Thimbriel: “Yes! It’s the CIB. My uncle was in charge of the CIB of this county for many years and I told the officer in charge that. I said you guys are incompetent it seems because to get, to make an error like that. They’re not even closely re, um, I mean, physically looking at those vehicles. They’re not even close so what are you, what are we saying? I mean these things are not even. If you’re trying to cover up something, you’re doing a bad job.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM New: While Thimbriel has been here before, he is hoping that this time around, the higher ups will hear his pain and listen to his countless and continuous cries for justice. Reporting for Love News, I am Vejea Alvarez.