Crime — 03 June 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

Regrettably, gun violence is on the increase in the tourist mecca of San Pedro, and between January and the end of May, four persons have lost their lives to gun violence on the island, and five persons sustained gunshot wounds from which they’re now recovering.

On January 20, Michael Wallace, 24, of the San Juan area of San Pedro, was shot and killed during a robbery. The incident occurred about 10:30 that Sunday night on Sandpiper Street.

There were no incidents in February, but on March 1, Steven Bowen was shot several times while he was walking in the San Mateo area, at about 7:30 Saturday night. He was shot in both legs, both elbows and in the back.

At about 2:00 Thursday morning, March 6, Jeffrey Eiley was beaten and shot to death on the southern end of Barrier Reef Drive. He had been shot several times, and eleven 9mm expended shells were recovered from the scene. Police have since been looking for a man of interest.

Five days after Eiley was murdered, Darrington Lauriano was walking on Sandpiper Street at about 9:00 Tuesday night, March 11, when a gunman opened fire at him. People in the area scattered for cover. Lauriano was hit in the back.

Three days later, at about 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 14, Victor Garnett, 23, was shot several times while in the Boca del Rio area on Laguna Drive in San Pedro. The wounded man was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II, where he was stabilized and later airlifted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City.

Garnett sustained several gunshot wounds to the lower abdomen and lung. San Pedro police said that seven expended bullet shells were recovered from the scene, but residents in the area claim to have heard as many as 13 shots. It was believed that the shooter escaped from the scene on a boat.

There was no more gun violence on the island until Sunday, April 13, at about 5:00 that evening, when a group of five men fired at Miguel Fuentes, 25, a fisherman of Boca Del Rio, who was walking on the beach in the Boca Del Rio area of northern San Pedro. Fuentes was hit in the right side of the back and in the right leg. The assailants escaped by running into the sea and into a boat.

A week and a half later, at about 9:00 Thursday night, April 24, residents of the San Juan area scrambled for cover as the sound of gunshots filled the air. Residents reported that six gunmen, dressed in full black and wearing masks on their faces, came from a mangrove area along the lagoon side.

The men pulled out guns and fired at a group of men sitting on two golf carts in front of a residence situated on Caniste Street. Reports are that as many as 16 shots were fired. Scared residents, including children, ran into their homes. The gunmen then jumped inside a waiting vessel and fled the area.

The next day at about 11:30, April 26, Dennis “Chingy” Palacio was standing in front of a yard on Seaweed Street in San Juan when a gunman approached and fired several shots at him. He was shot in the head and back and died in the yard. Police have not yet arrested any suspects in connection with this shooting.

At about 12:20 p.m. in the afternoon on Wednesday, May 14, Lorena Montez was stabbed several times by another woman inside Henry’s Store located at the corner of Swan and Glitter Streets, in the presence of her children, who had come home for lunch. Montez and the other woman had been involved in an altercation.

At about 3:15 in the morning of Saturday, May 17, a girl, 17, was shot in her abdomen while sleeping in her apartment on Marina Drive. The girl also suffered gunshot wounds in the right side of the jaw, and on the right thumb.

Two days later, at about 11:30, May 19, a woman and her son were shot by a boy, 17, while they were socializing in front of their house in the San Pedrito area. The mother and son were both shot in their legs.

Finally, Alfred Kelvin, 49, was walking on Seaweed Street at about 1:30 Saturday morning, May 31, when an unknown gunman fired a shot at him, hitting him in the left eye. He died almost immediately.

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