Father of 6 was shot in the midsection; police say it was a robbery attempt
Shortly after 4:00 p.m. this evening, a well-known cyclist and office assistant for the San Cas group of companies, was callously shot to death during an apparent robbery attempt that took place in the area known as “Junesville,” located behind the Charles B. Hyde Complex Building in the Lake Independence area of Southside Belize City.
The victim, identified as Ernest Thurton, 41, popularly known as “Dangalang,” a father of six children, who had been working for San Cas for the past 20 years, was reportedly making a routine check at his sister’s house near Cumberbatch Street, which he had been caretaking, when he was ambushed by two assailants and viciously shot once in the right side of his midsection. He was left to die on the ground next to a coconut tree in his aunt’s yard.
Amandala understands that the perpetrators were lay-waiting the unwary office assistant to rob him, but when Thurton realized what was about to happen, he ran, and the gunman fired a single shot that caught him in his midsection, killing him almost instantly.
The wails of his distressed relatives soon filled the air as they made their way to the scene of the crime after receiving the grim news of Thurton’s sudden and untimely demise, while police officers proceeded to cordon off the scene to control a mob of spectators who had gathered outside the yard where Thurton’s body lay face-down in a patch of sand and grass under the canopy of a coconut tree in his aunt’s yard.
Shortly after Thurton’s body was carted off, to screams and wails from his devastated family members who had gathered at the scene, we spoke to his employer, Caribbean Shores area representative Hon. Santiago “Santino” Castillo, who was visibly sad at the terrible turn of events.
He said, “Ernest Thurton, better known as ‘Dangalang,’ started working with me about 20 years ago at Santino’s [Ltd.]; he was also a rider on Team Santino’s who transferred to San Cas [Cycling Team] when I did, and really was not a troublemaker at all.”
Castillo confirmed that Thurton was on the job when he was murdered in cold blood.
“He was taking some checks, because he did not handle cash; he’s a messenger and he took some checks to the Income Tax Department and I understand he was caretaking his aunt’s house, so he passed here either before or afterwards to look at the house, and he was apparently lay-waited at that time. He probably saw the guys and was running away from them – one of them even left their slippers at the scene – and it seemed that one shot caught him in the left side and he then fell under the coconut tree,” Castillo explained.
Castillo then sorrowfully said, “It’s a sad way for a good guy to lose his life. I just rode a race with him on Sunday, and although I am a member of the Government, I will say that we really have to address crime in Belize, because it’s getting closer to all our homes.”
We then spoke with Thurton’s heartbroken sister, Lorraine Thurton, who was obviously traumatized by the sight of her brother lying motionless inside the yard.
She said, “I just came from a funeral and before I got home I heard the ambulance and said to myself that I hope it’s not anybody that I know got shot. As I reached home, I got a call and they told me that my brother just got shot at my aunt’s house in Junesville, and when I arrived, I saw that it was him.”
Thurton explained that her brother frequented the house every day, because he was supervising the property while his aunt is in the United States.
“All he does is to ride races and work for Santino’s; that’s all. He does not have problems with anybody. I think that they believed that he probably had money on him; that’s why they targeted and killed him,” she said.
Lorraine notified us that her brother – who was a father of 6 (4 daughters and two sons) – had wedding plans with his common-law wife, which must now give way to his funeral arrangements.
We contacted Administration Officer at Precinct 2, Jorge Lemus, who told us that their investigations have so far revealed that Thurton had gone to water plants at his aunt’s house when he was attacked by two armed robbers, who shot and killed him before stealing a box with checks and other documents that Thurton had in his possession.
Lemus noted that investigators are presently following all leads, and are currently seeking two suspects and the vehicle that they were allegedly driving when they committed the crime.