Headline — 07 July 2015 — by Rowland A. Parks
Marked for death – gunned down on his birthday

BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 6, 2015–A man was brutally gunned down on Friday, around 10:00 p.m., in the Lake Independence area.

David Steven Rivas, 21, a welder who grew up in the rough surroundings of La Croix Boulevard but who later managed to walk a straight and narrow path, even obtaining a sixth form education, told his family last October that he was marked for death.

Death came to Rivas on his birthday as he was socializing with friends on Roches Street; an assailant emerged and sprayed murderous gunfire in their direction.

Rivas was shot multiple times. He sustained gunshot injuries to the left side of the pelvis, the left buttocks, left thigh and left calf.

Rivas succumbed to his injuries around 1:18 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, while undergoing treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Also injured in the attack was a sixteen-year-old female minor, a resident of Alvarez Street. She was shot in the left breast and left side of the back, police reported.

Police have not made any arrest in connection with this incident, but say that they are investigating.

Rivas’ only sister told KREM TV that her brother had to suspend his attendance at school at times, because he was lay-waited on occasions.

Despite the turf wars, his family says he steered clear of gangs, but they believe that it was the friendships he cultivated and the company he found himself in that ultimately led to his death.

Since the end of last year, even the church adjacent to his family’s home had been used as a hideout for gunmen who lay-waited him.

His family says he had a difficult time coming to terms with the possibility of being killed at any moment. Things intensified a few weeks ago when, according to family reports, he started being followed by a particular gunman and he knew his time had come – it was just a matter of when and where.

In fact, his family says that he even bid them farewell and instructed them not to give interviews or share his picture with the media, in order to avoid giving his enemies any satisfaction.

On Friday, as he turned 21 years old, Rivas was making his regular trip from his house on La Croix Boulevard to his girlfriend’s residence, not too far away.

He would normally ride there, but on that particular occasion, a friend of his to whom he had loaned his bicycle was not at home, and so he decided he would walk the rest of the way.

That was the first time he was doing so. His sister told us they offered to drive him there, but he declined.

As he was walking on Roches Street at around 10:00 p.m., three of his female friends who were gathered in a trailer house on that street came out to ask what he would do for his birthday. That was when a masked gunman approached. Two of the girls saw the gunman coming and managed to flee unhurt.

Rivas was known as an excellent and trusted welder who was the co-owner of Rivas Welding Service, where he spent the majority of his time working with his father. He had contracts with Tropigas and CISCO. His family, who two weeks ago had premonitions of his death, will remember him as a master of his trade.

(KREM TV assisted with reporting for this story.)

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