Wednesday afternoon’s murder of 56 year old Cyril McFoy Robinson would not, in ordinary circumstances, inspire retaliation. But when you are the father of a key member of a criminal gang which inspires fear in many hearts, then Belize City residents could expect to fear the worst.
In the span of a little under two hours, there were three shooting incidents, with two fatalities. This in turn saw a response from the Government and senior police brass which we will tell you about shortly.
But first, to the incidents themselves. Five hours after Cyril McFoy’s death, 25 year old Clifford Simeon Flores, also known as “Pele”, was shot in the abdomen and lower back around 7:20 p.m. on Caesar Ridge Road. He and two others were sitting on a vehicle on Caesar Ridge Road when a SUV approached, and someone inside fireed at them. Clifford Flores died in treatment at the KHMH and police recovered five 9mm shells from the scene.
Police say the Pelican Street resident was shot in the head, fired by an assailant approaching from the Boulevard. He remains in treatment.
Then around 9:15 p.m., four persons were shot, one fatally, on Angel Lane on the Northside. 28 year old Nigel Ferguson of Brides Alley was hit in the left cheek, 30 year old Mark Alamilla of Pinks Alley shot in the upper left leg, 28 year old William Savery of Angel Lane to the right side of the buttocks, and 26 year old UB student John Avilez of Angel Lane in the right chest and arm.
They were standing under a vegetable stall next to a house on Angel Lane, when a vehicle came from the direction of North Front Street, stopped in front of them and a single man came out and fired at them. John Avilez died at the KHMH around 10:25 p.m. while in treatment. William Savery is in critical condition and Nigel Ferguson and Mark Alamilla have been stabilized. Nine 9mm expended shells were retrieved from the scene.
All told, including the death of Cyril McFoy and injury to Shawn Cherrington, eight persons were shot in seven hours, and two died. Police have rounded up six persons as part of their investigations, as explained by Officer Commanding Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner Deziree Philips.
“We have six persons detained, and that is for incidents that occurred between two p.m. yesterday and eight o’clock last night.”
As you saw, police would not say for which incidents persons are being detained. ACP Philips did confirm that John Avilez was not known to be criminally involved. As for motive, as we reported at the top of the story, police believe the Caesar Ridge Road incident in particular, and the others peripherally, were retaliation for Cyril McFoy’s death earlier in the day. But Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie indicated that as random as the incidents may seem, there is more below the surface.
“The information we have, we’re working to confirm, but it is highlt likely that the retaliations that we saw were as a result of that first shootings.
We do not believe that it is as random as you believe. We must remember that some of these gangs have affiliates. I think that [because of] some of the measures that were put in place, certain areas were hardened, and perhaps they went after affiliates.”
So who is Brandon Tillett, also known as “BT” or “Baby”, who holds such sway? We got a brief introduction from Deputy OC Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster.
Edward Broaster – Deputy Officer in Command Eastern Division, Belize Police Department
“Brandon Tillett is a member of the George Street gang, and we have other affiliates of Jane Usher gang, who is affiliates of George Street. We have members from South Side gang detained, who we believe are having conflict within each other, as it relates to this latest incident.”
Police continue their investigations into all incidents.