Miraldo Alvarez, 20, was shot in the head and back
BELIZE CITY, Sat. Aug. 25, 2012
Miraldo Alvarez, 20, was shot to death by three gunmen who chased and shot him just a short distance from his house on Lewis Street around 10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 24.
His family believes he was killed because he did not want to join gangs and refused to associate with them. The family has said that after Alvarez’s cousin, Keith Lewis, was killed, he and some of Lewis’ friends were warned that they also would be killed.
Police said that Alvarez and a friend were riding near the junction of Lewis Street and McKenzie Street about to head towards Lacroix Boulevard to buy chicken at a nearby Chinese store around 10:00 p.m. on Friday when three men came running from the direction of an old, burnt office building and an adjacent basketball court. The area is pretty dark because the lights from the basketball court which usually illuminated the area has not been working for a few months now.
On seeing them coming, Alvarez tried to turn back, but one of the men fired several shots at the two men, hitting Alvarez in his back and head.
The shooters then escaped into the surrounding area. Miraldo was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by his neighbor, former area rep Cordel Hyde, but died shortly after his arrival around 10:45 that same Friday night.
Police have so far detained one suspect.
Alvarez’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Diana Staine Enriquez, said that she was lying down on her couch after he had gone to buy food, when she heard a single gunshot. She jumped up and shouted “Miraldo!”, then several more shots were fired. She said she ran outside and saw Alvarez on the ground and three men running away. They tried to start their vehicle to take him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but the vehicle would not start.
Mrs. Enriquez said that during the day he had gone to the police to make a formal complaint on a man who was holding his passport and refusing to return it. The family had been trying their best to get Alvarez out of the country to reunite with his girlfriend in Los Angeles. They had paid a man $1,000 in June to get Alvarez an American visa; at the time the man had taken his passport. She said they made frequent checks with the man, and in July she realized that the man was not able to get the visa so she began to demand the return of the passport, and that was when the man went into hiding, and has not been answering his phone.
The mother-in-law blames this person for the death of Miraldo, because, she said, if he had returned the passport, they would have tried to get him a visa, and out the country.
Alvarez’s mother-in-law was to have returned to the States in June, but she had delayed her trip with the hope that he would have received his visa and would have been able to travel with her. They had already secured the money to purchase his plane ticket.
Mrs. Enriquez said that after Alvarez returned from reporting the matter to the police station he had cleaned the yard, and planted four coconut trees. Afterward he had gone into his room and began looking at some photos. He then spoke to his girlfriend who is in Los Angeles preparing to be a contestant in the Queen of the Bay pageant to be held there on Saturday. He had given her some words of encouragement.
Shortly after, his friend came to the house and they had a drink. It was around 10:00 that they decided to go to the store, but on their way they were ambushed and Alvarez was killed.
Alvarez had completed a course in air conditioning and refrigeration at the Center for Employment Training (CET), and reportedly was to have gotten a job on Monday, August 27, to do repairs on AC units.
Miraldo Alvarez is survived by his parents, Jane Lewis and Miraldo Alvarez, Sr. He is also survived by his sister, Renisha Simpson; his mother-in-law; his girlfriend, Shawnte Enriquez; and a host of cousins, relatives and friends.