Victim, 25, and minor, 15, were sprayed with bullets while socializing in a yard
The unforgiving streets of the Old Capital claimed the tender life of yet another promising youth when Ryan Arnold, 25, unfortunately succumbed to gunshot injuries he sustained while standing with about five persons in a yard near the Wesley Upper Primary School in Southside Belize City yesterday evening.
The incident – which has been labeled by witnesses as a retaliatory murder – occurred at around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Tuesday, while the group of young men were socializing on Armadillo Street, which happens to be one block away from the Racoon Street Police Station.
According to police, a lone perpetrator of dark complexion who was wielding a gun and wearing a black T-shirt rode up to the unsuspecting victims and released a barrage of bullets, injuring two of the men.
Arnold, a resident of Euphrates Avenue in Belize City, was hit in the lower back and abdomen, while a 15-year old minor was shot in the right thigh and left arm.
The minor, Marvin Phillips, was treated and eventually released, but 11 hours later, at approximately 6:30 this morning, Arnold died while undergoing treatment in the recovery room of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Phillips, who said that he is not affiliated with gangs, gave the media an account of what transpired the night before. He said, “Me and five other guys were in the yard when a gunman just ran up in the yard and started shooting after us. Afterwards, he ran off toward the Supal Street area. Everybody just ran and when I reached upstairs [of my house] I saw blood running down my foot and then I started to feel the pain. Ryan was lying on the ground and they picked him up and took both of us to the hospital.”
He briefly described the fateful moments leading up to the shooting and recounted the final moments when he last saw his friend, Ryan, alive.
“When I looked at him, he had a lot of shots in his back, but I don’t know how [many] times he was shot. When we were on the way to the hospital, he was already passing out. He told me that he couldn’t see anything but whiteness, and I hugged him and told him to be strong, so he was trying to fight for his life until he reached the hospital”, stated Phillips.
The group believes that they were targeted because of an ongoing, deadly gang rivalry between the Supal Street and George Street gangs.
According to witnesses, the attack was a direct retaliation for the murder of Tarique Cadle, 25, who was gunned down in George Street territory last Wednesday, February 19.
Relatives of Ryan Arnold said, however, that he was not a gang member, but simply grew up in the George Street area.
Deputy Commander of Precinct 1 Police Formation, ASP Suzette Anderson, clarified that she is not able to say if retaliation is indeed the motive for this latest case of gunplay. She explained, “I would not want to say that it is a gang-related murder, because the investigation is at an early stage and there is yet certain information that needs to be uncovered in relation to the motive of the shooting. We are not at liberty to say at this point in time what might have been the motive and whether it is gang-related.”
A post-mortem has since revealed that Ryan Arnold died of “exsanguinations due to internal and external bleeding due to left iliac vein and accessories injuries due to gunshot wounds.”
Police have since detained one man, reportedly from the Supal Street area, pending investigations.