LADYVILLE, Belize District, Thurs. Jan. 25, 2018– With four homicides occurring there between March 2016 and February 2017, Marage Road has developed a reputation as the most dangerous place to be in Ladyville.
After years of violence there was a momentary lull in that community, but that was interrupted sometime around 8 o’clock on Tuesday night when two armed assailants crept from the back of the Spain family’s residence, through high bushes and swamp, to ambush a group of men socializing on the street in front of an unfenced yard.
Marlon Spain, 25, was shot in the head and left for dead on his doorstep, while Casey Lozano, 24, was found dead 200 yards away. He had been shot in the back and thigh.
Spain’s nephew, Johan Gray, 22, and a passerby, Sidney Humes, 47, suffered minor injuries in the shooting. They have since been treated and released from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).
On Wednesday, Amandala spoke with Cynthia Lozano, mother of the deceased Casey Lozano, a young man who had a troubled past. In 2013, another of Cynthia’s sons, Ryan Lozano, 21, was shot dead by police, and so the murder of Casey has reopened old wounds.
She told us that before her son was shot they were at their home on Marage Road, discussing a business plan.
“…by the time I walked in the room, I saw him jump on his bicycle and ride out… not even two minutes [after] I hear the barrage of gunfire and I was like, oh my God, my kids are out there, I hope it’s not one of them…,” she related.
According to her, two of her sons dashed home, but Casey Lozano was not with them. When she asked them where Casey was, they told her he was coming. Casey was in a nearby yard, however, badly injured.
After the shots stopped, his brothers returned for him, but it was too late.
“I was trying to make sure that I wasn’t going to lose another child, but in my heart I knew he had already left. But because his other brothers were shaking him up and wetting him, he was there gasping, and that was a little hope, so he was picked up from there. The police came and they took him, but he passed…” said his mother.
Police have not yet released a motive for the fatal shooting, but Cynthia Lozano said it was in connection with the March 2016 murder of Rene “Fat Cat” Chavarria, 26. He had also been gunned down on Marage Road.
She explained, “The way things are today, I wouldn’t want to speculate, but in my honest opinion, this is stemming from the Rene Chavaria ‘Fat Cat’ murder. This is from that, and all I want these boys to know, if Rene was alive, nobody would have touched my family, because despite of what the streets said about Rene, Rene had respect for me, Rene had respect for my family, and he was always here. He was like a son to me. I don’t know where they are going with it, if they think they are going to get stripes, because as far as I am concerned he wouldn’t have condoned this.”
Casey Lozano’s mother told our newspaper that she was not prepared for her son’s death. She said, “If Casey was a child on the streets getting into stuff, I would have expected this, but Casey is a no-nonsense guy. He don’t take any joke, so he stays away from company. He keeps mature company.”
According to Cynthia, her slain son loved music and cooking. He was her right-hand man, she said.
On Wednesday Amandala also spoke with Randolph Spain, a brother of the other deceased, Marlon Spain. He said that less than 20 minutes before he was killed, his brother had returned home from a day of work at All Upholstery in Belize City.
When he reached home, he sent someone to buy him cigarettes, after which he poured himself a cup of water. He was heading down the steps of his house when a bullet hit him in the head.
Randolph said that his nephew, Gray, was eating supper around his table, in the kitchen, when he was also shot. According to Spain, his relatives were not the target.
He will remember his brother as a funny and outspoken person who worked hard. Marlon Spain had no children, and leaves behind his mother and ten siblings.
Today, police arrested and charged Jessie Mejia, 24, with two counts of murder for the deaths of Lozano and Spain, and two counts of use of deadly means of harm, one count of wounding and one count of grievous harm. He is to appear in court tomorrow, Friday.
Mejia is no stranger to the law. In 2016, he was accused of chopping two brothers in Ladyville.
Last July he was booked for shooting Elward McKay, 27, in Ladyville. Both matters are still before the courts.