Headline — 14 April 2018 — by Albert J. Ciego
Marcia Downs, 37, mother of two, gunned down

 The cold-hearted gunman shot at her twice — hitting her once in the head

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 12, 2018– Marcia Downs, 37, a mother of two children, 5 and 8, who was an employee at Channel 5 Belize on Coney Drive, was shot in the middle of the forehead by a gunman who fired twice at her at about 8:30 last night.

Downs, who lived in an alley off Handyside Street, behind Fenders Bar in Belize City, had just come down from her house.

At the weekly police press brief held this morning at the Raccoon Street Police Station, Inspector Wilfred Ferufino, Deputy Commander of Crimes Investigation, said that sometime after 8:00 p.m., Downs was at her home when she saw a man walking towards her house through the alley, and when the man arrived at her gate, she went downstairs and went to meet him at the gate, but the man took out a firearm and fired two shots at her, hitting Downs in her forehead.

The man then ran back in the same direction from which he had come.

Downs was rushed to the Karl Heusner Hospital (KHMH), where doctors worked frantically to save her, but at about 9:35 last night, a little over an hour after she was shot, she passed away.

Quick investigative work by police into the murder of the single mother led to a man who has been detained.  Inspector Wilfred Ferufino said that the motive for the murder is unknown.

We visited Downs’ family this morning and spoke with her 82-year-old grandmother, who is devastated by her loss, and who said that she is planning on selling her property, a place where she grew up as a child, and going to live elsewhere. She said that Downs is the fifth grandchild she has lost since 2015, and three of those deaths were caused by gun violence.

The 82-year-old told us that Downs had just come from work at about 8:00 last night, and that she was hungry and had asked her to make some panades.

She said Downs then went to bed while she began to prepare the panades. When the food was ready, she took it to Downs in her room, she said.  She related that at this point, Downs got up and went to close the gate. She said that afterward they were going to sit down and eat, and feed the children.

The elderly woman told us that her granddaughter was well-loved, and she expressed the wish that the gunman had shot her, the grandmother, instead, since she is 82, so that Downs, who worked so hard to take care of her two children, could have lived. She said that even though she is elderly and the family’s breadwinner has been taken away, she will try her very best to care of the children.

We asked the grieving grandmother if she knew whether Downs had been threatened, or had been in fear for her life. She told us that Downs’ death came as a surprise, that it was completely unexpected. She said that Downs never complained or reported that she had been threatened. In fact, she said, Downs was jovial when she came home that last evening of her life.

A friend of Downs, who lives nearby, said that every evening when Downs returned home from work she would call her, and after she had eaten, she would come over to her house and they would sit down and talk. She said that yesterday, Downs didn’t call her, and she did not know that she had come home already.

The friend said that perhaps it worked out for the best, because if Marcia had called her, maybe the gunman would have killed two of them, because they would have been together.

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Deshawn Swasey

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