BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016–This afternoon, shortly after the lunch hour, word began to spread about “a prominent attorney” who was found dead at his home.
Within minutes, social media was buzzing with a name. By the time reporters scrambled to Bella Vista in Belize City, where Michael Young, senior counsel and advisor to the governing United Democratic Party, resided, they came upon a street marked off with yellow police markers, and two senior police officers manning its entrance, as scenes of crime personnel, ballistics experts and the police pathologist, were all streaming toward Young’s residence within minutes of each other.
One of Young’s neighbors who lives almost in front of where police had set up their marker, blocking traffic, remarked how mannerly her attorney neighbor had always been to her when they passed each other on the short stretch of street. “He was such a gentleman,” his neighbor remarked.
An attorney from Young’s Law firm pulled up and police allowed him to walk toward the residence. After a few minutes, he turned back. With television cameras trained on him, he spoke not a word, but the somber look on his face said it all, as he got into his late-model SUV and drove off.
More scenes of crime personnel arrived, carrying the tools of their profession as they walked toward the residence, where reports on social media were saying that the senior counsel Young had taken his life.
The officer commanding Police Precinct four, Senior Superintendent Linden Flowers, agreed to give reporters an interview.
“Behind me, we are processing the scene of Mr. Michael Young, senior counsel. Mr. Young was injured as a result of an incident at that residence. I arrived on the scene about 35 minutes ago and my detectives, along with other detectives from the Eastern Division North, are on the scene. I have no immediate contact with them. I haven’t gotten any confirmation when I arrived here,” Flowers said.
The Senior Superintendent would not confirm that indeed Young was dead, as he continued: “I cannot confirm at this time if it was an intruder or if it is self-inflicted, or if it was someone inside the house. The detectives will give me that information, which I will pass on to the media.”
Even when he was asked directly if Young was dead, Flowers refrained from confirming so, only stating, “My information so far is that he is seriously injured.”
When he was told that Dr. Mario Estradabran had passed on his way to the house, Flowers said he did not see the police pathologist pass the point where he and his officers were screening who was allowed to proceed toward the house.
Flowers said he was alerted through a call from the police’s 911 operator about an hour and a half before he spoke to reporters.
Reporters, however, who are familiar with the emergency protocols of shooting incidents in the city, know that a person who has sustained a gunshot injury, self-inflicted or otherwise, would be rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital via ambulance.
In this particular case, the absence of an ambulance and the presence of the police pathologist, who arrived in a police pickup truck, were ominous indications that Young was dead.
The following day, Wednesday, police issued a report, listing Young’s death as “a sudden death.”
Police reported that they visited 583 Bella Vista, the residence of attorney Michael Clarence Young, 61, “where he was seen with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the right side of temple and an exit wound to the left side. Investigation reveals that around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, Michael Young went upstairs to his bedroom after having lunch and at around 1:00 p.m., his wife found him apparently dead inside their bedroom.”
The police report added: “Inside the bathroom beside his body was a black and silver colored Ruger brand .9 mm pistol loaded with (1) one live round inside the chamber and (14) live rounds inside the magazine. (1) one 9mm expended shell was found inside the bathtub of the bathroom. Young was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are investigating.”
In a telephone interview this afternoon, Senior Superintendent Linden Flowers explained to Amandala that Young was found inside his master bedroom with a gunshot wound in his head. The master bedroom also has a bathroom.
Flowers confirmed that at the time the shooting occurred, there were no more than three persons in the house.
We asked Flowers if the gun, which was licensed to Young, was dusted for fingerprints, and if Young’s hand was tested for gunshot residue. Flowers replied that the gun was dusted for fingerprints and Young’s hand was tested for gunshot residue.
Flowers told us that he is expecting the results of those tests in another day or two from the National Forensic Lab.
Flowers said that the post-mortem was conducted yesterday.
Amandala also asked Flowers whether or not any blowback from the gunshot injury was found anywhere on Young’s body. Flowers replied that all residues that were found are being tested by the lab and that as early as tomorrow, some of those results will be in.
“Will any of the tests that you need to do have to be done outside of Belize?” we asked Flowers.
Flowers said that once the expertise is not available in Belize, they will send whatever they have outside of the country. The police are not ruling out anything, Flowers said.
One of Young’s friends, attorney Rodwell Williams, told 7News last night that Young was also battling with cancer.
Michael Clarence Edward Young was born to Belizean parents on January 7, 1955, in England. He was the son of Horace Young, a highly regarded Queen’s Counsel, who passed away in 2010, at age 87.
Young graduated from the University of the West Indies in the class of 1975 with an LL.B, and from the Norman Manley Law School with a Certificate of Legal Education in 1977.
Attorney Young was admitted to practice law at the Belize Bar in 1977, and was elevated to Senior Counsel nineteen years later, in 1996.
Michael Young also served Belize in other capacities, as a member of the Crime Control Council of Belize, and as a member of the Better Business Bureau. He also served on the boards of the Belize Sugar Industry and the Development Finance Corporation, and was a former chairman of the Belize Broadcasting Corporation of Belize.
Young was also the lead attorney for the three utility companies of Belize and the Legal Advisor to the United Democratic Party.
Michael Young leaves to mourn his passing his wife Denise Young and their three children, Marilee, Devin and Myron Young.