Crime — 08 October 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego

Police believe it to be a case of mistaken identity

A resident of Punta Gorda, who was employed at the Belize City Center demolition project, was shot and killed at about 10:15 Friday night near a yard on Antelope Street Extension. Garry Mancel Pratt, 28, of Water Supply Area in Punta Gorda, Toledo, was standing on Antelope Street Extension when a man walked up and shot him twice in the head. Pratt died almost immediately.

Police say that they have a person in custody who they believe can assist them in their investigation.

Pratt’s landlady, Geraldine Castillo, said that she was at home when she heard multiple gunshots.

Shortly after, neighbors came to tell her that Pratt had been killed. Castillo said that she is still in a state of shock and disbelief, because Pratt did not deserve it. He was a hard worker, she said.

Castillo said that Pratt had just collected his first paycheck and had come home earlier and was relaxing, but at about 10:00 that night he went to a neighbor, whom he knows well, to ask for “fonto” to smoke weed. Shortly afterward, she heard the murderous gunshots.

Pratt had no known enemies; he was from Punta Gorda. When he came from PG, he stayed at her house, because he was so friendly and easy to get along with, she said. He had come to the city to publish his book of poems and short stories, and to write, said Castillo, and while he was trying to find a job, he sold newspapers, Castillo further mentioned.

Castillo said that Pratt did not “hang out”, but would bring his weed and fonto to smoke in his room. But that night, while he had the weed, the shop from which he used to buy fonto was already closed, which is why he went to his friend. She said that she will miss him because they were both from PG and they grew up together. He changed his life and he died with money he earned honestly in his pocket, she said.

It is expected that after the autopsy Pratt’s body will be returned to Punta Gorda for burial.

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