Escalating gun violence – 7 deaths in 10 days – blamed on gang warfare
A recent spike in gun violence and suspected gang activity in the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City has led to the death of another youth – this time it was a 22-year-old resident of Louise Bevans Street who was reportedly only able to walk properly by means of crutches, but who was nevertheless executed in cold blood near the basketball court in the Jane Usher Boulevard area.
Shortly after daybreak, at about 7:00 a.m., Patrick “Pata” Bevans was reportedly returning from taking a trip to a nearby shop on MS Street when his assailant/s pounced on the handicapped Louise Bevans Street resident and riddled his body with a barrage of shots which shattered the early morning silence and ultimately took the life of the young street figure. Bevans had been shot in the leg by a member of the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) earlier this year when he was allegedly trying to evade police.
Bevans was found Wednesday morning lying face-down with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.
His family believes that his killer took advantage of Bevans’ impaired condition, since he was apparently stalked and then gunned down from behind, and today, Amandala spoke with one of his relatives, Ashanda Gonguez, and she told us what occurred. She also mentioned that a 10-year-old boy with whom Bevans has no relation had come to their home last night and inquired as to the whereabouts of Bevans.
She said, “This morning his [Patrick’s] girlfriend went to work and she left him in the house sleeping, but apparently, he wanted to exercise his [injured] foot so when he got up and went to the shop to buy a piece of ‘fonto,’ and was apparently coming back [home], either one or two gunmen pulled up on him and shot him from behind. The first shot he got was in his head, and they just continued shooting him – a total of seven times, mostly in his head.
“We know they wanted to kill him because last night, they sent a little 10-year-old boy here to call him and tell him that someone up the street was looking for him, but he [Patrick] and that person do not have any kind of relationship, and so they probably waited until this morning, when they lay-waited him and shot him,” Gonguez said.
Gonguez admitted that since Bevans was a well-known street figure, he had several enemies and although he was young, he was “feared” by rival gang operatives who are currently attempting a “takeover” of the area, which has led to an escalating turf war that has undoubtedly unleashed fear in the minds of those who inhabit the immediate area.
Bevans’ family noted that he had a run-in with some officers of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) the night before he was killed. It must be noted that the deceased was shot by members of the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) on January 12, 2014, after they alleged that Bevans attempted to elude capture, and so, in an attempt to detain him, he was shot once in the leg at close range by a BDF soldier who was carrying an M4 carbine.
The officers claimed that Bevans tried to “strong” the weapon from an officer after fleeing from a house search in which he was being sought for the murder of Emerson McDonald, 38, who was shot in the center of the lower back as he was walking on Central American Boulevard earlier in January.
Bevans was charged for trying to steal the rifle, while the shot shattered the bones of his lower leg and left him hospitalized for three months, during which time he was taken to court on crutches.
Interestingly, Bevans was to appear in court tomorrow to answer to those charges, and his family said that he would routinely take a walk with his crutches, but early this morning he was lay-waited and viciously attacked.
“He has a court case tomorrow for the same incident where the BDF shot him in his foot, and he had witnesses who saw that the police had wrongfully accused him that night when they came to look for him, but this morning, they chanced him out of his life, and whosoever did it is a coward; they should have faced him like a man,” Gonguez mentioned.
His past has caused Bevans’ family to have little hope for justice.
“When it comes to the police, I don’t know what to say to the police, because in the eyes of the law, none of them liked Bevans, and the way they will put it, it’s just another black man who died or just another gang member who went down. So, that’s it right there for him; nothing will come out of it,” his relative said.
While Bevans’ family might not have any faith in the justice system, they feel that he was killed as a result of an ongoing rivalry between two established gangs who have initiated a turf war in the Jane Usher Boulevard area.
Gonguez stated: “They have a set of young men back here who say that they come to ‘run’ Jane Usher [Boulevard]. They say they are from the ‘Gaza’, but I don’t know what those boys are into. They want to be a part of Gaza and Gully. First it was Bloods and Crips, and now it’s Gaza and Gully; they ‘simple’ just like Gaza and Gully.
“But men from the Gaza say that they are coming to take over this area; I don’t know, so I would say that it’s true. And it’s only young boys, stupid young men trying to make a quick rise and trying to prove themselves to whosoever that they can be a member of this ‘Gaza’; they’re all little boys. But when they come to the Gonguez yard, they have to come good, because only girls live here.”
The police, as well, believe that the motive behind the murder is gang war in the Jane Usher area, and in response they (police) have established a command post with officers assigned to foot and mobile patrols in the vicinity. It is situated next to the basketball court, some 200 feet from the scene of this morning’s murder and 200 feet from the scene of another murder which happened two weeks ago, apparently in an effort to settle control of the crime-ridden zone.
According to Belize City Precinct 2’s Administration Officer, Corporal Jorge Lemus, seven 9mm expended shells were recovered from the scene, and they are presently questioning several persons of interest.
“At this time, we are dealing with our intelligence and we are putting things in place to try to get to the bottom of this whole situation in the Jane Usher Boulevard area. The detectives of Precinct 2 are trying to connect the dots to say which incidents are linked to each other, but at this time, we cannot confirm as yet. We have set up a command center and vehicle checkpoints in that area, and at this time, the residents of Jane Usher Boulevard can be assured that we are putting our very best in that area to deter crime,” Lemus explained.
While his family told us that Bevans was using a pair of crutches at the time he was murdered, police said that he was not.
Amandala also understands that Bevans was a cousin of Troy Hyde, 26, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds after he was shot while working at a locksmith’s shop three weeks ago on Central American Boulevard.
Since then, the area had seen two previous murders – that of Anfernee Romero, 18, who was shot in the head with Hyde on April 3, and Kevin Rodriguez, 19, who was killed on April 13, allegedly in connection with a firearm that was stolen from the Precinct 2 police station.
While police try to link those incidents and find the killers, resurgent gun violence in Belize City has now claimed 7 lives in 10 days.