BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 7, 2016–The ongoing street war between the Peace In the Village (PIV) gang and the Backa Lands Crips (BLC) has left another casualty.
According to his neighbors, Michael Lopez, 22, arrived at his home at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Jones Street shortly after 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night. They told Amandala that Lopez, who was unemployed, had spent the hours before his death looking for a job.
After a brief chat with his neighbors, Lopez was about to enter his yard when two men on a motorcycle approached him.
One of the men allegedly dismounted the motorcycle holding a gun.
Four shots were fired and one struck Lopez in the head. Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told Amandala, however, that he believed that Lopez was trying to fight off his attackers, but was overpowered.
His blood, ACP Williams said, is believed to have gotten on his attackers’ clothing as a result of that struggle.
After Lopez was murdered, the motorcycle men fled the scene, only to be later intercepted by the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU).
Samples from Lopez’s blood-stained clothing were taken and are being prepared for DNA testing at a lab in Miami.
Neighbors of Lopez told Amandala that Lopez was struggling to stand up, but they advised him to remain on the ground while they sought medical assistance. Lopez was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) and received intensive care, but he succumbed to his injuries shortly after, at around 9 p.m.
ACP Williams today told Amandala that Lopez, who lived in the territory of the PIV gang, was not known as a gang member.
His neighbors told Amandala that he knew that his life was under threat. He told them that on Tuesday night he was walking with another man when a vehicle crept up behind them.
The vehicle then sped off when the street became populated.
Ever since then, they told us, he appeared under stress.
According to police, Lopez’s death was an act of retaliation following the death of Kieran Morrison, who was slain in the Lacroix Boulevard area on Wednesday night.
Following that incident, ACP Williams had told Amandala that he would send reinforcements to the area to deter retaliation.
However, one of the two patrols sent to the area had been withdrawn after two men were slain in separate incidents about three hours before Lopez’s shooting. ACP Williams today conceded that his Eastern Division South Formation has been operating with limited human and vehicular resources.
Police have since detained the men on the motorcycle believed to be involved in Lopez’s death.
Michael Lopez was a father of two children.