Five Murders within 18 hours of New Year’s Day
Belize City: Thursday 3rd January 2019
Within less than 24 hours into the New Year, five Belizeans have been slaughtered in gross acts of violence.
The first victim has been identified as Howard Coleman, 58.
The Lucky Strike villager was at home around 5 a.m. when a man identified as Giovannie Jones hacked him to death with a machete.
Police say that Jones took a woman to Coleman’s house, but the woman asked him to leave the premises. However, Jones insisted he would stay although Coleman also demanded that he leave. The two men subsequently had a physical altercation which took a turn for the worst when Jones followed him outside the house with a machete.
Thereafter he allegedly raped the woman.
Later that morning the body of a Hispanic man was pulled out of the Belize River near Blackman Eddy Village in the Cayo District. As we go to press the man is yet to be identified. According to police, a post mortem examination revealed that he died from manual strangulation.
Police are yet to determine his nationality or where he was killed before being located.
Sometime around 4 p.m. another man lost his life. He has been identified as reputed Backa-Lands Crips Boss, Joseph Babb, 21. He had been socializing with friends near a shop on Blue Marlin Drive when an armed assailant emerged and opened fire.
He tried to run for his life, but he was pursued and killed on the scene.
Police have indicated that he was not killed by a rival gang and so it is suspected that he was killed by his own associates.
The fourth victim was a woman who lost her life in a domestic dispute.
She has been identified as Anita Pineda, 34. Sometime around 6 p.m. the mother of three was visiting her friend’s house in the Kontiki area of San Ignacio. However, before she could make it inside, she was ambushed by her ex-common-law husband, Ruben Cassasola. He reportedly grabbed her and began to stab her multiple times in front of her mother.
And the fifth murder victim has been identified as Preston Reynolds, 22.
Sometime around 8 p.m. he was riding his bicycle in the Jane Usher Boulevard area when he was ambushed by gunmen who shot him multiple times. He tried to run into some nearby bushes but was pursued by his attackers. Police say that hours before his demise he had been involved in a misunderstanding with someone.
Despite this New Year’s bloodbath, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of National Security called a press conference to powder up the situation. In other words he indicated that the lost of five lives in one day was not a matter for public concern.
He then went on to defend the crime fighting strategies implemented last year. We note that last year ended with 143 murders, only 2 short of tying the record breaking 145 murders in 2012.
He also claimed that this year the Belize Police Department would be reorganized. We have seen anti-gang legislation, new police units and even a state of emergency activated but these have not stopped the bloodbath. And so at this newspaper we are doubtful that these new strategies will serve to address the root causes of crime.