Highlights — 10 November 2015 — by Albert J. Ciego
Veteran cop captures armed robber

PUNTA GORDA TOWN, Toledo District, Fri. Nov. 6, 2015–Sergeant Joseph Martinez of Punta Gorda Town singlehandedly captured and disarmed an armed robber who went to his place of work at the Johnson Distribution Center in Punta Gorda at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

Martinez, who declined to be called a hero, gives thanks to Inspector Daniel Cacho, combat instructor at the Police Training Academy, whose training allowed him to take charge of the situation, and he also acknowledged the other instructors who trained him.

The robber has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison on charges of attempted robbery, aggravated assault with a firearm and keeping unlicensed firearm and ammunition, until December 14.

Martinez told Amandala in Punta Gorda that he was at work at the Johnson Distributors on Main Street, speaking to the supervisor, who was sitting behind the desk (other workers were also in the center), when three men walked into the center, one behind the other, and the first of the three went straight to the supervisor, pointed a gun at him and demanded money.

The supervisor then shouted, “Sarge,” and that was when the gunman turned his attention to the retired sergeant, pointed the gun at him and told him, ‘Don’t move or you are dead.’”

Martinez said that the situation occurred quickly — there was no time to get frightened.

The supervisor then got up from behind the desk, walked past the armed thief and went to one of the other two robbers, to subdue him.

Martinez said that he made two steps forward and quickly grabbed the hand of the robber who was pointing the gun on him, causing the bandit to fall.

The sergeant said that he began wresting the gun from the robber’s hand, and when the robber released the gun, he subdued him.

Meanwhile, the supervisor grabbed one of the robbers who came with the gunman and struggled with him, and while that was happening, the third bandit ran away. The supervisor, however, was not successful in subduing the other bandit, who struggled fiercely and managed to get away.

The thief that was now a prisoner, told the sergeant that he was “set up” to rob the center by the two men who had escaped.

The other workers of the center, who ran away when the robbers came in, then went back to the center and assisted in restraining the bandit while they awaited the arrival of the police.

Martinez said that the situation was fluid, and when the bandit pointed his gun at him, he first thought of kicking his knee and punching his face, but there was the danger of the gun discharging, so he quickly decided to grip the robber’s hand which held the gun and forced the hand to release the gun.

He said that the bandit was distracted when the supervisor was struggling outside with one of the other thieves, and that was when he was able to mount his assault and capture him.

Martinez said that because his training is second nature, he was able to react appropriately.

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