LADYVILLE, Belize District, Wed. July 29, 2020– Funeral services were held for Orin “Bredda O” Velasquez, 38, who was fatally shot during a robbery of his popular pizza store in Ladyville on Monday, July 27, 2020.
Velasquez was closing his pizza shop along with his son, 14, at about 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 27, when two thieves rushed into the pizza shop to rob him. There was a struggle with them and in the process, Velasquez’s son was able to run out of the shop. During the struggle, however, the thieves fatally shot Velasquez in the chest.
They then stole the day’s sales, which was about $200, from the pizza shop’s cash drawer, and the two thieves then ran out of the store.
It is believed that the armed robbers had gained entry into the yard by jumping over the fence at the back of the house.
Velasquez was a pillar in his community, which is still reeling from the senseless murder.
Belize City Councilor Micah Goodin, Velasquez’s nephew, said that Velasquez, also known as Bredda O, was well-loved and respected. He built himself up from nothing, through hard work, said Goodin.
Goodin said that Velasquez was a positive member of his community and was always willing to help others, and was always jovial and humorous. He was also a hard worker, added Goodin.
In his remarks to those in attendance at Velasquez’s funeral, Goodin said:
“Today, it is with a heavy heart but an absolute honor that I pay respect to my uncle, Orin Crescencio Velasquez, better known as Bredda O. He was the personification of perseverance. If perseverance was a person it would be him.”
After noting that Velasquez was born on April 19, 1982, to “career public officer Claudette Rowland Goodin and humble entrepreneur Frank Velasquez”, Goodin went on to state, “Today, while we celebrate my uncle as an astute businessman, pizza connoisseur, committed husband and dedicated father, we must turn back the pages of his story to acknowledge incidents of his unbreakable perseverance, a perseverance which cannot be overstated.”
Goodin went on to say, “It is said that behind every great man there is an even greater woman, and Mel, his wife, is just that woman. She inspired and supported him in all his endeavors. And he returned the gesture, often by way of poems to Emilda (Mel).
“My uncle was a poet and earned the title Bredda because of his time interacting with members of the Kremandala family. Whenever you are behind the Zinc Fence, you are a brother or a sister. Thus, the name Bredda O.”
In highlighting how important Velasquez’s wife and children were to him, and how closely knitted they were as a family, Goodin noted, “They prayed together, played together, partied together, cooked together and traveled everywhere. They were an ideal family and what you saw displayed on his social media is exactly what happened behind closed doors.
“Jaheem [Velasquez’s son] can testify that his father was always there. When he learned how to read, write and count, his father was his tutor. When he scored his first basket on the court, his father was there to celebrate with him. When he pedaled his bicycle without training wheels, his father was there to catch him if he fell. His father played an important role in his life.
“Afrikah [Velasquez’s daughter] can also testify of the greatness of her father. A dad soft enough to comb her hair and strong enough to protect her from all harm. He campaigned vigorously when she wanted to be class president. She won that election by a landslide. He supported her passionately when she launched her own small business at school.
“The two have had so many karaoke nights together it would have been no surprise if they produced a cd of their own music. Her father was always amazed by how smart and eloquent and proper she was.”
Goodin further stated, “My uncle was not only committed to his wife and children, but also to his siblings.”
“I spent much of my life until junior college with him. During my time with my uncle, I was able to witness firsthand the sacrifices that he made. He worked at the airport by day, and sold pizza by night,” recalled Goodin.
“For many meals we had breastbone and tortilla because my uncle never trusted the banks and didn’t believe in loans. As a matter of fact, he secured his assets without any. He saved a long time to finance his dream restaurant, which is now 90 percent complete,” Goodin said.
“He was more than our uncle; he was a father figure and a friend in whom we could confide. He provided for us when we had nowhere else to turn. When Psalm and I started high school and struggled to secure our footwear, he was there. He bought me my first pair of Jordan sneakers,” Goodin sadly recalled.
“The same love he showed to us, he showed to this community — from the small window at his pizza shop or on the basketball court where he has organized so many tournaments and positive events for the Ladyville youth,”. Goodin declared.
Goodin went on to tell all those at the funeral, “We have lost a great man, a righteous man, undeserving of the tragedy that occurred.
“This was to never have happened to a man that walked the straight and narrow, took no shortcuts or days off, cheated no one and did everything morally acceptable. These things make you question life. But the Book of Proverbs teaches us that we should trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.”
“To my uncle I want to say thank you for showing me what it means to be a good man. Thank you for showing me how to persevere. Thank you for everything. We love you,” said Goodin.
Bredda O was a boxer and a sports enthusiast. He was known in Ladyville as one of the adults who used sports as a means to reach out to youths, in the hopes of keeping them away from a life of crime.
In February 2013, he began attempting to restore boxing to its glory days in the city — the days when people would go to Birds Isle and be entertained by some exciting boxing matches, but it was a work in progress.
Bernardo Bennett, the chairman of the Ladyville village council, said that Bredda O contributed a lot to the community. He had worked with him spreading sand in the Janessa Jones Park to benefit the community. He had also been helping the community a lot through jobs, and through assistance generally.
Bredda O opened his pizza shop about 4 years ago and he and his wife worked hard and built it up into a solid, expanding enterprise. Velasquez was kind to his customers and gave discounts on many occasions.
Monique Alarcon, his sister-in-law, said that on numerous occasions, when those who went to Velasquez’s shop were short on money, he gave them food and did not try to collect, or was not bothered if they did not pay.
The Ladyville community strongly condemns the senseless murder of Bredda O and on Tuesday, the residents of the village staged a demonstration and a candlelight vigil, and a large crowd of about 800 persons attended to show their condemnation of the senseless murder of such an outstanding man and to denounce the crimes that have been plaguing the community.
Chairman Bennett has called on the residents to give information to police to help them solve this crime and arrest the killers.
Velasquez leaves behind his wife, his son, Jaheem, 14, and his daughter, Afrikah, 10. His family said that he was getting ready to construct another building to upgrade his business, and was preparing to open a restaurant.