Headline — 07 November 2018 — by Albert J. Ciego
Brave police officer shot and killed on Regent Street West

He died in the line of duty responding to an armed robbery at Belcove Hotel

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 5, 2018– At about 10:00 Friday morning, police constable Osborne “Ozzy” Martinez, 27, of Dangriga, was shot in the chest by one of three thieves as they were trying to escape after robbing Belcove Hotel on Regent Street West. This is practically in the middle of downtown Belize City, three buildings down from the Swing Bridge.

The policeman was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival while undergoing surgery.

 The three accused robbers-turned-killers are Tyrique Myles, 18; Rayford Mejia, 19; and Glen Lopez, 21, all of Belize City. They were captured on the crime scene this morning and were all jointly charged with murder and three counts of aggravated robbery. Myles and Lopez were additionally charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. Mejia and Lopez will be arraigned for the offences at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.

While being apprehended, Myles was shot in the leg, and he was later taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and admitted in a stable condition.

Police said that Martinez and his strike team of Operation ACT of Precinct I, responded to reports of a robbery in progress at the Belcove Hotel, and he was the first officer to jump out of the police vehicle and go into the hotel. He was immediately shot.

The police team returned fire, and there was a shootout. Our sources say there happened to be a police boat directly across the Haulover Creek behind the Bottom Dollar store. That craft with policemen had just arrived from San Pedro Ambergris Caye. As the cops opened fire from that boat behind Bottom Dollar while the perpetrators were trying to escape, the robbers threw their guns and the money they had stolen into the river.

One of the thieves was captured in the Belcove Hotel. Two of them were captured in the boat in which they had arrived behind the hotel, and in which they were also trying to escape. That escape was blocked by the police boat. The thieves were apprehended at gunpoint, and police boarded the boat and handcuffed them. They were all taken to the deck of the Marlin Restaurant, where, in their presence, police retrieved the bag containing the money from the river.

An officer went into the river and was able to recover two guns that the gunmen had thrown into the river.

Later, divers from the Coast Guard came and searched the area in the river behind Belcove Hotel. They found a third gun that one of the gunmen had used in committing the robbery.

The three gunmen, along with the stolen cash and the guns, were then taken to the Queen Street Police Station, where they were booked and the guns and cash were deposited as exhibits.

Police said that the men held up and robbed the manager and the employees of the hotel. They stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the hotel, and were about to flee the scene when the police arrived.

During the police press brief held this afternoon at the Queen Street Police Station, Deputy Commissioner Chester Williams said that Tyrique Myles has been discharged from the hospital into police custody, and he will be taken to court this afternoon or tomorrow morning to be remanded with his accomplices.

Williams said that the three men are known to police and that they are affiliated with a street gang in the city.

Williams also said that Martinez was armed when he arrived at the scene of the robbery, and he responded with two other team members.

After word came to the police station that a policeman had been shot and killed, there was anger among the police officers. The high command called a meeting with the officers to counsel them, and reminded them to be calm and to be professional and not to take the law into their own hands.

The Deputy Commissioner said that they are observing the increase in Belize City crimes, and if it continues, another state of emergency may be declared in the old capital and another lockdown of gang leaders will commence.

The Police Public Relations Unit announced that Constable Martinez will be buried in his hometown of Dangriga on Saturday, November 10.

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