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Police officer killed in attempted robbery; would-be thieves arrested

There was a brazen robbery at Belcove Hotel on Regent Street West in Belize City. About 10:20 a.m. three armed gunmen went inside the Hotel and robbed the employee of cash. Police Constable Osbourne Martinez and another officer responded to reports of a robbery in progress in the area. The cops and the robbers then exchanged gunfire as they exited the hotel. One of the suspects was shot on the right leg.  Officer Osborne Martinez was hit in his abdomen and collapsed in front of the hotel. An eyewitness who lives nearby took this cell phone video and related what she saw unfold.

Voice of Eyewitness: “Okay I was washing upstairs on my veranda and I heard like three gunshots first and then I heard ten to fifteen gunshots after that and then I heard five more. So me being a nosy neighbor I ran and came out and when I came out I stood up on the bridge and I saw a policeman flat on his face with apparent gunshot wounds in his chest and abdomen while three other police officers picked him up off the ground and put him in the mobile, I wasn’t sure if he was dead or alive. Apparently the young men came from the river side in a boat to rob Marlin’s and the police supposedly walked right up into one of them and that is how they got shot. So two of the young men that robbed the spot were over on the green house and one of them police supposedly shot one of them so right now the police are on the water and they have the boat the young men came in.”

And from a birds eye view at Mikes Sporting Club, a club patron told us what he saw from the window.

Voice of Club Patron: “Really and truly we heard shots, the first couple shots were fired and we saw three young men coming from behind Marlin’s. They got to the hotel and police from Bottom Dollar shot at them and they jumped to the river. The next one from this side near the bus stop shot at them, there were a lot of shots and they ducked down into the water. They ran into Marlin’s yard they got shot and jumped back in the water.  Two jumped into a boat when they told them to freeze and one was left in the yard. The one that was left in the yard put up his hands and they still shot him and that is what is still unfolding.”

The 3 robbers fled back into Belcove. Two of them jumped in a boat. However, police officers who came from San Pedro were in their own boat across the river and came with weapons trained on them and  blocked the escape. The gunmen then threw their weapons and the cash in the river. They too jumped in but they were fished out of the water while the third was trapped behind a cement fence.

Medical care from the emergency service was given to the injured gunman prior to being taken by an ambulance to the hospital.

Police Constable Osbourne Martinez, Killed in the line of duty

The other two robbers were seated and handcuffed while police processed the scene and Inspector Hilberto Romero removed the bullets from the first gun. Another gun was fished out of the water. The officer removed a shirt and a bag containing the stolen cash. Officer Isais Sanchez then assisted with the counting of the cash. The coastguard then joined the operation.  A scuba diver then went into the murky water and retrieved the third weapon. While the coastguard fished out the weapons and the police examined the cash, Officer Osborne Martinez died. The two suspects were removed from the scene not with robbery, unlicensed weapon and ammunition charges waiting for them but also murder of police constable Osbourne Martinez.