There was a shooting on West Canal in Belize City yesterday evening involving two persons in a vehicle and other individuals of the George Street area. No one was injured in this incident but it is a story with a twist as the men who are believed to be the targets in yesterday’s incident were the ones taken into custody by the police as explained by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams.
“From our investigation that we have gathered is that there were two persons in a vehicle hanging out in the area of Prince and the canal side and it is basically enemy turf actually and apparently they were spotted by the personnel from the George Street area who then went and fired shots not at them but in the area to scare them and get them out of the area. The persons upon doing so were intercepted by the police and they are in custody at this time because they are wanted for a shooting over on North Side and these persons are from north side as well and last night police wanted them for a shooting so we will be handing them over to north side for a further investigation in relation to a shooting which they are wanted for on that side of the city.”
ACP Williams says that while nothing incriminating was found in their vehicle and despite the men’s explanation that they were there to pick up something, the men do have questions to answer to investigators.
“Well from our interview with them they were saying that they were there to pick up someone and that was the only reason why they were there and we have searched the vehicle extensively and nothing incriminating was found inside their vehicle. As a police and an investigator we try to look at all possibilities. I don’t think that one would want to go into any turf just like that. They would be going there for a particular reason or purpose hence the reason we detained them and because we want to know exactly what they were doing there but we must also take into consideration that as Belizeans they have the constitutional rights to move wherever they want and that freedom cannot be restricted by us or by any other individual so if that is the story they are giving then we have to accept it but we still will have to investigate further to see if everything would be matching in respect to the reasons that they are giving for being there.”
The shooting occurred just after six o’clock yesterday evening and residents in the area have reported hearing as much as fifteen shots fired although police did not find any expended shells near the scene. ACP Williams says that aside from detaining the occupants of the vehicle, they have also gone in search of the suspected shooters.
“You must understand that as police officers our primary function is the protection of life and property and yes whilst those persons who were detained were the targets they were detained first and foremost for their own safety because getting out of there could have also cost them their lives. Secondly they are also wanted by the police so by any account they should have been in custody and in respect to the police, the tent that is on West Canal that is all the way by Rocky Road that is quite a distance away and the police were able to respond quickly despite the fact that they were a distance away along with the strike team that is assigned to the George Street area hence the reason that they were able to intercept those persons that they detained very shortly thereafter. So I think to give credit to the police the response that they had in respect to the situation was adequate. Yes we would have wanted to detain those persons who actually did the shooting and we know who they are and we went after them this morning during our operations but I would want to think that they were expecting the police to come after them this morning hence the reason we were unable to find them but the pressure is on and we will continue to do what we need to do to keep the area safe.”
The men taken into custody are believed to be members of a north side gang and as such they were in what some refer to as rival turf. It is believed that they were shot at for being outside their element as it relates to the street and gang conflicts.