General — 26 June 2015 — by Kareem Clarke
Sibun Street youth, 15, critical after being shot in the head

BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 23, 2015–The prospects of summer vacation have been dashed for a 2nd form student of Canaan High School who was shot in the head and neck while walking on Lakeview Street in Belize City last night.

According to police, Tarique Thompson, 15, was approached from behind by a lone gunman, wearing a fisherman’s hat, who fired several shots at him as he headed in the direction of Vernon Street, just one block away from his home on Sibun Street, at around 8:30 p.m. yesterday, Monday.

The teenager was hit twice, once in the chin and once in the neck, and was later rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he has been admitted in a serious condition, and is clinging to life.

The incident happened on the fringes of the reputed gang-affiliated neighborhood known as “Ghost Town”, which has seen a flare-up in gun violence over the past few months, and while Thompson is a resident of the area, relatives we spoke with described him as a mild-mannered student who did not associate in any way with any gang.

“I really don’t know who would want to hurt him; I believe he is a victim of circumstances”, his aunt told the media today, adding that Thompson is a very humble, mannerly and quiet individual who enjoyed playing sports and video games.

When Amandala went to the scene this morning, some members of the community told us that it could have been an attempt to send a message to the Ghost Town gang by one of their rivals, who were allegedly spotted in the area, and they do not believe that Thompson was the intended target.

The aunt – who emphasized that her family has lived in that part of the city since the 1950s – explained, disappointedly, that they are contemplating moving out of the area due to the escalating gang violence which, of late, has even involved feuds between members of the same gang.

She said that Thompson has a “50/50” chance of survival and explained that one of the bullets actually entered his chin and exited through the top of his head, while the other was lodged in his neck.

He has undergone surgery to remove the fragments in his neck and at this time, he is in an induced coma, but while Thompson clings to life, his family and school administrators are clinging to hope that he will make a full recovery as soon as possible.

Police have detained three persons pending investigations into the unfortunate shooting, but no charges have yet been brought against any of them as yet.

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