Headline — 12 May 2015 — by Kareem Clarke
Kjiel Young, 19, gunned down – why?

BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 11, 2015–Life was cut short for a teenager from the Lake Independence area of Belize City who was shot several times while hanging out, just a stone’s throw away from his home, this past Saturday night.

Police said that sometime around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, Kjiel Nicholas Young of Partridge Street Extension was sitting alone in a yard at #45 Vernon Street, which has no fence, a popular hang-out that is four houses from where he lives, when he was approached from behind by a lone gunman with a 9mm pistol, who began firing at him.

Young was hit multiple times in the body and was later transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Today, Amandala spoke with his aunt, Kenecia Velasquez, who told us that upon hearing about seven gunshots, she left home and went to the scene, where she noticed blood coming from Young’s mouth and nose. Young, affectionately known as “KJ”, had been shot 5 to 6 times from behind.

She told Amandala that when she heard the gunshots she jumped up because she thought the shooting was taking place further up the street, but her boyfriend told her that the shots were coming from nearby.

“I ran outside because I knew that my daughter was still out there. Then I saw my friend’s daughter running towards me, calling my mother’s name, and then I knew that it was KJ that got shot. I continued running and when I went to the scene, they were putting him a pickup, so I jumped in and when we got to the hospital, he was already dead. He died before he reached the hospital,” Velasquez told us.

When asked who would have wanted to harm her nephew, Velasquez replied, “That’s what all of us want to know, because he didn’t do anybody anything. He didn’t shoot anybody; he graduated from Gwen Lizarraga High School last year, so when we heard he got shot, all of us wanted to know what happened.”

We were told that Young was advised to leave the area moments before the shooting took place, but his relative said that he probably stayed in order to make arrangements for a Mother’s Day party that was planned for the next day, Sunday.

“Well, my daughter was out there and told him to go home, but he stayed right there because he didn’t have any [beef] with anybody, so he felt comfortable sitting there by himself”, she told us.

Young’s aunt maintained that he was not a criminal, and added that while the family does not know who shot him and why, they “hope that who did it had a good reason.”

Today, Officer in Charge of Belize City Police Precinct 2, Sr. Supt. Alden Dawson, told the media that authorities are currently canvassing the area trying to establish the motive, but so far, no one has been arrested in connection with the murder.

Sources mentioned to us that prior to the incident, Young had been engaged in an exchange of words with the alleged shooter, who left the area and promised to return for retaliation, but when we questioned Dawson about that scenario today, he said that he did not have that information.

According to Dawson, Young was not known to police and was not known to be a member of any gang.

Velasquez told us that the family is grappling with his loss because the recent graduate of Gwen Lizarraga High School was an exemplary student and therefore became a role model for his younger siblings.

Young’s mother, who has three sons, was especially heartbroken at his death, because he is the second son that she has lost in the past 11 years.

In June of 2004, his younger brother, Que Young, 5, was knocked down and killed while standing near his home at the corner of Jasmine and Vernon Streets.

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