A deadly weekend has seen five people shot, chopped or stabbed to death in Belize City and in the Stann Creek and Orange Walk Districts.
Twenty-one hours after what could be termed a double murder occurred on North Front Street on Thursday night, a man was shot to death on Mahogany Street.
On Saturday evening, in Hopkins, Stann Creek District, a man was chopped to death, and seventeen hours later, another man was stabbed to death in Guinea Grass, Orange Walk District. The tragic weekend of killings began on Thursday night, October 25. Police say that they were called to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) around 11:20 p.m., and saw Frank James, 35, a labourer of #2 Pickstock Street, dead. He had been declared dead on arrival about five minutes earlier.
James had been shot once in the left side of the abdomen, twice in the right calf and once in the left wrist.
Later, police went to the dockyard on North Front Street, where they found Robert Young, 43, a labourer of the dockyard, motionless. He appeared to have been shot once in the left ear, once in the right side of his head, once in the right side of the neck and twice in the right hand.
Police investigations revealed that at about 10:50 that night, multiple gunshots had been heard on North Front Street, and thereafter, Frank James was seen injured on the street. He was taken to the KHMH, but pronounced dead there.
Police, who launched an immediate investigation into the double murder, said that their initial investigation indicated that gunmen went into the area and fired at Young, who was with James. It is believed that after Young was shot and killed in the dockyard by the three men, James tried to run away, but the gunmen shot him multiple times to silence him.
Young’s brother, Emil Young, told reporters that he was at his home with his son in Hattieville around 11:00 that Thursday night when he received a text message from a family member and knew that something was wrong.
The message was followed by a call informing him that his brother had been shot. He immediately began to get ready to come to the city, and while his son was opening the gate so that he could drive out his vehicle, the phone rang again, but this time he was told that it was a mistake, that it was not his brother who had been killed, that the person was his brother’s friend, but that his brother had only been grazed, and that it was not necessary for him to come to the city.
However as he was talking with his son, the phone rang again, and his cousin told him that he was calling from the morgue, and told him that his brother was dead. He said that although he was confused because of the conflicting messages, he drove down to the KHMH morgue, where he saw his family. He spoke to a policeman who was at the morgue and told him that he was the brother, and he was allowed to go in to identify his brother.
The grieving brother told reporters that James, the first victim, was found on the street in front of Zeta Ice Factory. When police saw him in the hospital, they did not realize that in fact, two persons had been shot. When they came back to process the scene, they went to the back of the dockyard, and that was when they found Young.
Police said that when Young was found, he had a fish that was half-cleaned, and he also had a knife, or scraper in his hand.
Emil said that he was sure that if his brother had sensed danger, he would not have been standing there cleaning a fish and would have run for cover, or made all efforts to defend himself. He was a construction worker, and the type of person who would work for two or three days, and then relax on the other days of the week, he said.
Young’s body is presently at the morgue awaiting an autopsy to certify the cause of his death.
Radiance Flowers, Frank James’ common-law wife of nine years, told Amandala that she was at home in her bed when someone came to her house and told her that her boyfriend, Frankie, had been shot by the dockyard on North Front Street.
She said that she immediately got ready and went out to see what was happening, but when she reached the dockyard, he had already been taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and she went there.
She said his death is particularly painful because he was not a troublemaker. She also said that if she should get a chance to meet his killers, she would ask them why they took away a responsible man from his family. She is not employed, and it will be very difficult for her to get by, she added. Flowers said that they had lived together for 9 years and she will miss him every day.
The family said that James will be buried in his hometown village of Guinea Grass in the Orange Walk District.
Frank James is survived by his son, his wife Radiance Flowers, his parents, who live in the United States, three brothers, four sisters, and many relatives and friends.
Police have since detained two persons and are seeking another. The motive of this double murder is unknown.
On Friday, October 26, around 8:20 p.m., police went to the KHMH and saw the body of Joseph Hector Conorquie, 30, a construction worker of 6866 Electric Avenue. He had been shot in the upper left hand, in the left side of the chest, in the right rib cage, right lower back, right upper arm, right leg and upper center of the back.
According to police, Conorquie was walking on Mahogany Street in the city, in the direction of Western Avenue, and when he approached the junction of Administration Drive, three men passed and fired nine shots at him.
Conorquie was rushed to the KHMH, but was pronounced dead at 8:15 p.m. Police said that nine 9mm expended shells were found on the scene. They say they have detained a Belize City man and are seeking two others.
His mother told Amandala that she was at home that evening when a family friend came and told her that Hector has been shot, but she dismissed it saying, “ My son? It can’t be my son, you are mistaken.”
However, the friend answered, saying “I know Hector… it is him.”
She said that she had heard the ambulance and the police sirens, but had not figured that it was her son. She then began to get calls telling her that Hector had been killed. She called his father and told him that their son was dead, and she went to the morgue and saw him.
She said that she had seen him earlier that Friday evening around 4:30 when he came home and asked her for some money. He then told her that he was going back to “the village” on Saturday. She said that she is very surprised that he was killed because he was an introvert, she said, and did not socialize much. The grieving mother said that she will not seek revenge. She will leave everything to God, she said.
Joseph Hector Conorquie is survived by his parents, six sisters and four brothers,
Then on Saturday, October 27, Abelino Barnaby Garcia, 25, was pronounced dead at 6 p.m. at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. Police say that Garcia was on his way back from work at the Hamanasi Resort in Hopkins, Stann Creek District, around 5:30 p.m. when he met an unknown assailant who was hiding behind a house. The assailant chopped him repeatedly.
Garcia suffered massive injuries to his head, arm and body. His head was nearly split open, and he died on the spot. The killer escaped into the surrounding area.
Garcia was rushed to the Dangriga Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Police have since detained two men in connection with the incident.
In what seems to be a related incident, earlier that day, police say, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., Olivia Coc, 36, her 13-year-old daughter and her 5-year-old son were returning from fishing in Hopkins when they were attacked by a man with a machete.
Coc suffered injuries to her mouth and her right hand, and she lost four fingers from her left hand. Her daughter suffered a cut to the neck, and her son suffered a cut on the right hand. They were all taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, where they are reportedly in stable condition.
And on Sunday, Manuel Cruz, 56, a labourer of Guinea Grass, Orange Walk, and another person were socializing in front of a Chinese shop, Bai Li, in the village.
Apparently, sometime around 10:30 in the morning, police say, Cruz was approached by one Fidencio Camara of the same village, who stabbed Cruz in the middle of the chest, and in the hand.
Cruz managed to walk to the main street, but he was followed by Camara.
When Cruz collapsed on the street about 40 yards from the shop, his assailant took the opportunity to stab him more than once in the back. According to police, there were about eight stab wounds in the left side of his back. He was taken to the Northern Regional Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:35 p.m.
Police say that they have detained Fidencio Rufino Camara, 34, of Guinea Grass.