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Stevedore killed seconds away from home

Daniel Lopez, 24, was killed just moments after being released from police custody

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 10, 2022– Last night, Daniel Lopez, 24, a stevedore from Belize City, was fatally shot just seconds before arriving home after being released by police, who had detained him during their initial investigation of an inner-city shooting which took place on Friday night. This morning, we visited the grieving family of Lopez, who expressed their belief that negligence on the part of the police may have contributed to the death of their loved one.

Lopez was ambushed on Fabers Road near an open lot just adjacent to a grocery store in the area. Reports are that an SUV had been repeatedly passing along that street before the shooting took place. Unconfirmed reports from local media are that two men later exited that SUV and ambushed Lopez with a hail of bullets — as many as 15, reports say. Eyewitnesses of the shooting are alleging that while one of the men ran away after shooting Lopez, another followed the injured victim and stood over his body to fire additional shots — coldly completing the execution.

When Lopez’s family arrived on the scene, they found him motionless and in a fetal position, with blood continuing to flow from his gunshot wounds. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead last night. His family at this time remains uncertain as to what could have led to his shooting death, since Daniel, known to be a very private and hardworking young man, continued to be, in their eyes, the child whom they had raised. They have indicated, however, that they cannot vouch for his actions outside the household.

On Friday night, Andre Stain was shot on North Creek — the only shooting recorded in Belize City for Friday, and reports are that Lopez was detained during police’s investigation of that shooting. His family said that he cooperatively went with police to the police station without objecting or resisting, and an officer had promised them that he would ensure that Lopez was returned to the home following questioning if no charges were brought against him.

On Sunday night before 9:00, he was released from police custody but was neither taken home as had been promised nor given the opportunity to call family members to pick him up. His family said that the failure of the police to do so placed his life at greater risk, since at his detention he was effectively paraded across the city, without a mask, following the Friday night shooting.

They remember him as a very private and humble young man. In November 2019, Lopez was shot in the leg on Neal Pen Road.

Today, during the weekly police press conference, the Police Department’s communications director, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, told local media that the department is saddened that Lopez lost his life after he was cleared by police of any involvement in the Friday night shooting. Yearwood explained that he had been detained with several others in connection with the shooting on Friday night which injured Andrew Stain.

“If the police knew that he would have been harmed upon being released, I’m certain that the officer would have tried everything in their power to keeping him safe. It’s very sad that the family feels this way,” ASP Yearwood said.

He confirmed reports that an SUV was used by two men to carry out this fatal attack on Lopez. Several persons are detained at this time in connection with the murder of Lopez, and are being questioned by investigators, but no charges have been levied as yet.

Yearwood told reporters that the department is not able at this time to indicate conclusively what the motive was for the shooting of Lopez. This morning, Lopez’s mother, in tears and still grasping onto his bloodied shirt, told us she feels pain every time she sees young murder victims and said she tried her best to raise her son to be an upright young man.

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