Crime — 25 February 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

A mentally challenged man of Big Falls Village in the Toledo District died after being shot in the leg by police with a 12-gauge pump action shotgun after he chopped a special constable and attempted to chop another officer at about 8:00 Monday morning in Big Falls.

Moses Williams, 25, was declared dead at about 9:30 that same Monday morning by Doctor Luz Legra Williams of the Punta Gorda Hospital.

Police said that the incident occurred about 8:00 Monday morning when two policemen of the Big Falls were trying to arrest Williams, who was armed with a machete.

According to police, they responded to reports of a shooting incident and went to Williams’s house, where they found him with a machete. He refused to hand over the machete and an altercation ensured, during which Williams tried to chop them. In the effort, he chopped the special constable on the right hand, causing him to fall to the ground, and as he stood over the special constable to chop him again, the other policeman shot him in the leg to subdue him.

However, according to police, Williams then turned his attention from the special constable and came at the policeman. Incredibly, the man managed to wrest the shotgun from the cop, and both officers had to retreat from the mentally challenged man.

The cops called for backup from Punta Gorda police and when they arrived they found Williams sitting on the ground with the shotgun and the machete under him. Williams was rushed to the Punta Gorda Hospital, where he succumbed while undergoing treatment for the shot in the leg.

As a result of the attack on the policemen, the special constable’s two hands appeared to have been broken. He was taken to the Big Falls Village Poly Clinic, where he received medical treatment for the injuries.

Williams was taken to the PG morgue where he awaits a post- mortem to certify the cause of his death.

However, the Belize Mental Health Organization is not happy with the death of Williams. They said that his death was unnecessary, and called on the police to work closely with the organization when they respond to situations involving mentally challenged people.

In a press release, the organization said that the police should have contacted the District Mental Health Nurse, who was surely familiar with Williams and who would have known how to calm him without using force.

Moreover, the Association says Williams was probably in need of involuntary mental treatment at a facility, after which it would have been safe for him to return to his village. They urge police to work closely with the mental health professionals, rather than to respond alone and unprepared to such situations.

Police said that they were responding to reports made by four residents of the village that Williams, who was armed with a machete, was threatening them.

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