BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 8, 2015–Just a few hours after one of his alleged shooters was granted bail in the Belize City Supreme Court last Friday, June 5, Mark “Pele” Gentle, 27, also known as Mark Vernon – who received multiple gunshot wounds when his house was sprayed with gunfire exactly two weeks ago, on May 25 – passed away at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as a result of his injuries.
At around 7:20 on that fateful night, Gentle was reportedly sitting on the steps of his house on Caesar Ridge, Belize City, along with his stepfather, Calvin Cumberbatch, 34, when a vehicle approached the men and two of the occupants of the vehicle fired a barrage of shots, allegedly with high-powered weapons, in their direction and sped off.
Both Gentle and Cumberbatch received multiple gunshot wounds to the body.
Gentle was admitted to the KHMH in a critical condition, but Cumberbatch’s injuries were not life-threatening and he was therefore treated and released.
Last Monday, June 1, Maurice Felix, 30, a resident of Gill Street, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for 2 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of dangerous harm, and 1 count of use of deadly means of harm in relation to the incident, which investigators believe to be gang-related.
Due to the nature of the offences, he couldn’t be granted bail at the time, and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison.
Last Friday, however, Felix was granted bail in the sum of $15,000 plus one surety of the same amount by Justice Troadio Gonzalez.
Police believe that Felix is one of two men who opened fire at Gentle and Cumberbatch who are, respectively, the son and husband of businesswoman, Pamela Bennett-Cumberbatch, who operates an informal micro-credit business at her Caesar Ridge Road residence, where the incident occurred.
Maurice Felix’s charges in connection with the shooting of Gentle are now expected to be upgraded to murder.
Gentle, we should note, is no stranger to the law and has a long rap sheet dating back to October 2007 when he was charged for the murder of Curlin “Cluck Cluck” Felix, 30, who was, notably, the older brother of Maurice Felix.
He was also charged for attempted murder, grievous harm, and use of deadly means of harm against two of Felix’s friends, Kevin Hendy, and Joshua Dyer, who were along with him at the time of the incident.
Curlin Felix was gunned down on Central American Boulevard in broad daylight on Sunday, September 30, 2007. Felix was shot five times after being ambushed by a gunman who reportedly stood over him and fired several shots in his direction after he fell into a drain while trying to escape.
Gentle’s brother, Cassian Bennett, who was 18 at the time, was also charged for that murder and shooting.
Both men were remanded to prison until December of that year when they were freed based on a directive from the DPP’S office which indicated to the Magistrate, via letter, that the charges against the two defendants were to be withdrawn.
In 2008, police charged Gentle for manslaughter by negligence in connection with the death of David Burgess, 17, who was shot in his forehead while hanging out in the Yarborough area of Belize City on August 11 of that year.
Burgess was shot 24 hours after his release from prison, where he had been remanded since April of that year for aggravated assault.
The two – Burgess and Gentle – were known to be associates and police said at the time that the shooting was the result of an internal gang rivalry.
Gentle reportedly told authorities it was an accidental shooting, but the victim’s family believed that he was killed in an act of retaliation.
Then, in 2010, Gentle was shot twice. The first incident took place in April of that year when he was shot in what police believed was a retaliatory gang-related shooting that happened near the Wilton Cumberbatch Field near his home in the Port Loyola area of Belize City.
Later that year, in December, Gentle was standing on the basketball court located on the same Wilton Cumberbatch Field behind Fabers Road along with a male student when a man who was walking from the direction of Ross Penn Road allegedly fired shots in their direction. Both he and the young man with him were hit in the right leg.
In May of 2013, Gentle and his mother, Pamela Bennett-Cumberbatch, were able to beat a charge of attempting to suppress evidence, after they were accused of trying to bribe, and then threatening, a main prosecution witness.
That witness allegedly reported to police that Cumberbatch and Gentle tried to pay her off to withdraw her written statement which implicated her son, Cassian Bennett, 23; Jermaine “Horse” Garnett, 30; and Kenneth Barrow, 35, who were on trial for the murder of Raheem Requeña, 19, which occurred on December 19, 2012.
The witness later fled the country and the case against Cumberbatch and Gentle was thrown out because of want of prosecution.
Gentle’s last known run-in with the law was in June of 2014 when he was charged with use of deadly means of harm and wounding for shooting Radman Welch a month earlier, on Monday, May 12.