BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 16, 2017–He was sent to buy plantains and Kool-Aid, but was unable to deliver the items to his sister because instead of returning home, he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) by an unidentified taxi driver.
According to police reports, Francis Petillo, Jr., 31, a mentally challenged man, was walking on Western Avenue from the direction of the George Price Highway at around noon on Sunday when he became a victim of a gun attack.
According to our eyewitness accounts, while Petillo, Jr. was walking, a dark-skinned teenage male who was riding a beach cruiser bicycle in the opposite direction, from Mahogany Street to Western Avenue, spotted him, and immediately got off his bicycle, pulled out a .38 revolver and began firing at Petillo.
We were told that he fired 6 shots at Petillo, who fled from Western Avenue to Police Street. His attacker then got back on his bicycle and rode off in the direction of the George Price Highway.
Petillo was immediately rushed to the KHMH, where he was treated and released. According to police reports, he was grazed across his stomach.
When we spoke to Petillo’s sister, she told us that nobody ever thought that there would be an attempt on her brother’s life, because he is a mentally challenged man who roams the city freely and does not trouble anyone.
However, she is of the view that the attack on Petillo, Jr., may have been caused by her other brother, Ronlee Petillo, a reputed associate of the George Street Gang who is currently in prison.
When our newspaper asked her if she had any message for the person who attacked her brother, she said she did not, maintaining that she is a God-fearing person.
Our news archives show that Francis Petillo, Jr., had been tried and sentenced for criminal offences as far as back as 13 years ago, in 2004, and up until 2012, when he began suffering from a mental health condition following his imprisonment.
While no one has since been detained in connection with the shooting, we understand that the investigation remains ongoing.