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Police Commissioner Comments on Rondane Swaso Shooting Incident

Police in Belize City shot twenty-two-year-old Rondane Swaso last Thursday night. The police’s version of the incident says that Swaso was arrested under suspicion of handling stolen goods. During that arrest, Swaso reportedly managed to escape and during a police pursuit on Euphrates Avenue, he emerged from some bushes and attempted to grab one of the officers’ firearms. A struggle ensued, the gun went off and Swaso was shot. Swaso’s girlfriend told Love News on Friday that the police’s version of events is tainted. Police Commissioner Chester Williams was asked about it this morning and he explained that the two police officers followed the department’s pursuit procedure. The Commissioner added that Swaso will be criminally charged. 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “In respect of the matter of the shooting involving Mr. Swaso in Belize City last week from what I have been briefed is that there was a report of some stolen item that was being advertised for sale on social media. The owner of the item saw the item and recognized it to be his and based on that made some arrangement to purchase the item. Upon going to do so he solicited the assistance of police officers to be in the area and they went somewhere along the East Canal area where they met the individual who had the stolen item with him. The police moved to arrest the young man who had the item and upon doing so he had a brief struggle with the police and he managed to escape. This led to a pursuit within Belize city and that pursuit led them to an abandoned lot on Euphrates Ave near the basketball court. At this time it was already in the dark of night and so one of the officers who did the pursuit was in the back of the yard and made a call to 911 to seek assistance. Upon doing so the young man Swaso came from an area and accosted the police. A struggle ensued for the officers weapon during which the officer was able to fire one shot which caught Swaso in the right chest region. The bullet exited the back. He was taken to theKarl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is currently admitted in stable condition. Professional standard branch is doing the internal aspect of the investigation and one of the things we’re looking at is our pursuit policy whether or not the officer complied with our pursuit policy and I can say at this time it would appear so. One cannot expect that the officer would have waited for the young man to take away his gun before doing something because I saw some of the comments on social media and it would appear to be that some people would have rather the young man take the police’s gun and kill the police as opposed to the police responded that he did. When we do have these shootings it is always unfortunate but at the end of the day police officers are out there to do a duty and in so doing they also have a right to protect themselves and the wider public. In terms of the criminal aspect of the investigation that is being done by CIB and certainly yes  the young man will be charged for handling stolen goods at the very least because the item he had was reported stolen and is the subject of police investigation so that is where we are with that at this time.”