Residents of Police Street, Belize City, are puzzled as to why attackers targeted 23 year old Denver Villafranco, a Belize Defence Force (BDF) volunteer soldier, on Saturday night around 7:20 p.m.
According to police, Mr Villafranco was found lying motionless on the street, with an apparent stab wound to the right side of the abdomen.
He died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital while undergoing treatment within 10 minutes of the incident.
As police investigations continue, the street’s residents mourn the loss of a man described as a “peacemaker” in the area, someone who could be depended on. Unfortunately, his last act of peacemaking may have led to his death, as described by an area resident and friend of his who we spoke to off-camera.
Voice of Friend of Deceased
“He told me Saturday, when me and him talk, that he went to store, he and two other guys from the neighbourhood. One of the guys he was with approached two other guys that they had a disagreement with. He went to him to talk.
From what Denver told me, one of the guys hit the guy that was talking to him over the head with a pink bottle.
They didn’t get involved. All of us are from the same neighbourhood. He tried not to take sides. He always tried to be the peacemaker.
Later on in the night, I guess Denver was home, when one of the guys that he was with punched the guy in his eye. punched his cousin, one of the perpetrators. He was nowhere around when that happened.
So when he came to my house Saturday, and told me what happened, that he heard that the guy got punched, he never thought that anybody would retaliate on him, because he had nothing to do with that.”
Police recovered a black-handled knife measuring approximately 4 inches in length.
Denver Villafranco leaves behind a one-year old daughter, Deneke, with his common-law wife Keisha Rodriguez, who says he was on his way to babysit his child when he met his death.
We spoke to her on Monday, as she tried to make sense of her partner’s passing.
[Paraphrased] “We just want justice for Denver, because everyone who knows Denver knows that Denver doesn’t do anyone anything.
He is very mannerly and all we want is justice, because the people who did this to Denver are the people who he helps. When they don’t have anything, Denver helped. Once he has it, he’ll help you.
So I don’t know why they did that to Denver. He was the nicest person you could ever know.”
Police are said to have detained three men pending further investigations.