Police say the suspects are 13 and 18 years old
BELMOPAN, Mon. Sept. 16, 2019– There was a bold, daylight execution of two teenaged cousins that has left residents of the San Martin area of Belmopan in shock and grief. The execution occurred early Saturday morning near a dried-up creek in the San Martin area.
Herman Alexander Valladarez, 16, was shot, along with his 17-year-old cousin and hang-out partner, Gruver Lizandro Delgado.
After witnessing the shooting of his cousin, Delgado tried to run away, but he fell and the gunman caught up with him and shot him in the head at point-blank range.
Delgado was rushed to the Western Regional Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment.
What could have triggered such a vicious, deadly attack on the two teenagers?
Belmopan police investigators have scrambled in several directions to find answers.
This afternoon at a police press briefing, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett, told the media, “Belmopan police were called to an area in San Martin around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, where they observed the lifeless body of a Hispanic man lying in a creek which did not have water at the time.”
Myvett said the man lying in the creek was later identified as Gruver Delgado, and he was taken to the Western Regional Hospital.
Myvett explained that what the police know so far is that Delgado was along with Alexander Valladarez, his cousin, hanging out in that area, when they were approached by two persons and an argument ensued. “As a result, one of those persons pulled out a firearm and fired at Delgado,” Myvett said.
Myvett added “that as a result, Valladarez was also fired upon.” “He, too, was transported to the Western Regional Hospital and later to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday morning,” said Myvett.
(What police explained to the media is contrary to the sequence of events that was narrated to us today by Manuel Delgado, the father of Gruver Delgado.)
“In relation to this, police are seeking two suspects, one of whom, I believe, is 18 years old. At the time of the incident, he was accompanied by a 13-year-old, whom we are also seeking,” Myvett told the media.
Myvett was asked what dispute caused these teenagers to resort to such shocking acts of gun violence.
Myvett said he did not know, and police have still not been able to establish a clear motive for the shooting.
It was suggested that it must be distressing to police that multiple teenagers have been found killed several days apart.
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, replied to this statement, telling the media that the loss of life is not only distressing to the police, but also to the community on a whole.
Commissioner Williams added, “this goes back to something that I have been harping on: too many children are not being treated like children. We have too many young people roaming our streets day and night, committing crimes. The issues go back to parenting. It is time that parenting is looked at more seriously.”
Commissioner Williams said parents need to know whom their children are hanging out with. “If it is that the child is of school age, then the child must be in school”, he said.
“A lot of young people are out there selling drugs for adults. We are enforcing the curfew law in Belize City; we want to extend it to the entire country,” Commissioner Williams said.
Manuel Delgado, 52, the father of Gruver Delgado, said that the last time he saw his son was on September 10, “because he lives with his aunt, the mother of my nephew, the other boy who was also killed.”
Delgado said he was making barbeque for his church when his sister called him and told him that his son had just been killed.
Delgado told us, “I mi feel happy that morning and then my sister called and said, ‘Manuel, they killed your son.’ When I hear that, I dropped my phone and told my girl to let’s go, because they killed ‘Chan’.”
Delgado said that he did not hear the gunshots because he was playing church music on a loudspeaker.
“I told my pastor that I have to go, because my son just got killed,” Delgado said.
Delgado said that the shooting happened right in front of his sister’s house. “My sister was telling the guy not to shoot. My sister saw it, lot of people saw it,” Delgado said.
“When he went to the area where the shooting occurred, there was a lot of people there and they put my son in the ambulance and took him to the hospital,” said Delgado.
We asked Manuel Delgado to describe what kind of person his son was.
Pointing to the Baptist Church that is next to his house, Delgado, who is a Guatemalan, said that he has made his home in Belmopan since 1979.
“They grew up in this church,” he said.
Delgado is of the view that the man who shot his son and his nephew is from El Salvador and is a member of the MS-13 gang.
At the police press briefing, however, we asked police about this, but ACP Myvett said they have no confirmation that the shooter is a member of the MS-13 gang.
Gruver Delgado is Manuel’s eighth child.
Delgado said that all of his other children are alive, and this is the first time that one has been killed.