Headline — 25 August 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Belizean Darnelle Flowers, 17, shot dead in Chicago

The teenager’s death opened an old wound for his grandmother, who lost his father to gun violence in Belize City

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Aug. 21, 2018– Shortly before midnight this past Sunday, police in Chicago, USA, found two bodies in a field in the Golden Gate neighborhood, near 131st Street and Rhodes Avenue. The Chicago Tribune quoted authorities as saying that the bodies had already started to decompose. Both bodies reportedly had gunshot wounds.

One of the murdered persons has been identified as Darnelle Flowers, a 17-year-old Belizean whose grandmother, who lives in Belize City, told us that he had been living in Chicago with his mother and brother for almost a decade. Flowers was found along with Raysaun Turner, 16, an American.

Although Darnelle Flowers was killed a long way from his native Belize, his murder opened an old wound for his grandmother, Martha Avilez.

Today, Avilez told us that Darnelle’s father, her son, Shawn “Skull” Avilez, died from gunshot injuries he sustained a little over a decade ago. Avilez said her son was 27 years old when he was shot and killed on March 15, 2008, in front of Mike’s Club, located at the junction of Regent Street West and West Canal Street, in Belize City.

“Up to now they have never arrested anybody for my son,” Avilez said. “In fact, the police called me and asked me if I no hear nothing, because it was puzzling to them. He was not in no gang. He never had no criminal record or anything like that. They [the police] were at a loss. In fact, his death went just like that,” she said.

We asked Avilez how she got the information about her grandson’s death.

“His other grandmother, his mom’s mother, Shirleen Anderson, she called me and told me that they killed my grandson,” Avilez said.

Avilez explained that Flowers and another young man had gone missing from Friday. “They were calling his cell phone and he was not answering. So they were searching for him on Saturday and Sunday, cause they didn’t hear anything,” she said.

Avilez said that although she couldn’t recall the exact year when Flowers moved to the States, she is certain that it’s over 10 years now that he has been living there.

“His mom moved with her two sons,” Avilez recalled. “At the time when he left for the States, he was attending St. Joseph’s Primary School.”

Avilez said that her grandson was enrolled in school in the US. “And his mother also enrolled him in a wrestling program. She did catering to take care of Darnelle and his brother and sister,” she noted.

We asked Avilez if she had gotten any information regarding why her grandson was killed.

“I don’t know, because his mom said she don’t know either. She said he was with a friend and he and his friend got shot. It is sad, because they killed his dad and now him,” Avilez said.

“His younger brother, who is eleven months younger than him, he is taking it real hard,” Avilez added. “He is sixteen, so they’re pretty close.”

One of the witnesses who saw police securing the crime scene was a woman named Adrienne Lando, the Chicago Tribune story said. Lando had allowed Flowers to stay at her home and he was friendly with her children, Hannah Leone, the writer of the Chicago Tribune story, said in her piece.

Flowers went by the nickname “Bibby,” the Chicago Tribune story said, and he had once stayed at her home during a period when he was going through a rough spot, Lando told Leone.

“Family members said the boys went to Christian Fenger Academy High School, where Turner’s family said he earned good grades and played team sports, including basketball,” Leone reported.

“Police taped a rectangle around the field between 130th and 131st Streets and Eberhart and Rhodes Avenues, later expanding the crime scene several yards farther south on Rhodes and east on 131st. A few family members, including Flowers’ mother, parked their cars on Rhodes, facing the scene. She started to walk underneath the yellow tape, but police told her she had to stay out of the crime scene.

“A man who she arrived with hugged her as she began to cry and helped her back to their black sedan, where she sat in the passenger seat and stared blankly ahead,” reported the Chicago Tribune story, captioned: “Teens found shot to death in Chicago field.”

Avilez said her grandson will be buried on September 2 and she is planning to leave Belize at the end of the month to attend the funeral.

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