BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 24, 2022– Today, the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams informed local media that several persons are currently being questioned in connection with the murder of Joseph “Tanga” James, 33, which took place on Friday morning in Belize City. James was reportedly driving down Bishop Street along with his girlfriend, Marybeth Wade, 30, when the couple was ambushed by a man standing on the corner of West Collet Canal. Both persons were injured, and James, the driver of the vehicle, drove down West Canal and onto Prince Street before losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a cement fence. When police arrived on the scene, they saw both James and Wade suffering from gunshot injuries and transported them to the KHMH.
James was pronounced dead shortly after, and Wade was treated and listed in a stable condition. She later released herself from the hospital and recounted the ordeal to a local reporter. She explained that she was the first of the two to be shot, since the bullets that were fired, entered the vehicle through the passenger side, and James told her to get down. She said she was pressed down to the corner of the passenger-side seat and the bullets that hit Tanga came from her side of the vehicle. She said that one bullet grazed her arm and hit him in the throat, causing him to bleed profusely from that wound.
James was listed as a self-employed resident of Belize City in a police report but is a well-known criminal figure within Belize City. Recently, he was arrested for appearing along with other known criminals in a Facebook live video in which they were seen brandishing high-caliber firearms. According to Wade, police had detained him on the day prior to his death, and she and attorney Orson Elrington had worked to secure his release, which they succeeded in doing.
Joseph “Tanga” James was reportedly heading home from a morning session at the court, where he was able to avoid the revocation of his bail, which would have resulted in his being taken back to the Belize Central Prison.
Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told local reporters that he has handed down instructions to the National Crime Investigation Branch to follow some leads that could shed further light on the broad daylight murder and possibly lead to the arrest of the triggerman. COMPOL Williams hopes that following those leads could give investigators a clearer picture of the events that led up to the killing of James.