25 year old Mark Anthony Rhamdas Jr., also known as “Judas,” became the latest target of murder in Belize City. In the last two weeks there have been three shooting incidents in the general vicinity of Albert Street West, Berkeley Street and East Canal, centered around an alley starting off Albert Street West and extending around to Berkeley Street. On March 30, Jaime Chavarria was shot and killed in this alley while returning from a Chinese store where he had gone to buy. Three days later, Winston Baptist was shot but survived in the same area. On Wednesday evening, Rhamdas and his common-law wife, 21 year old Etheline Mejia, were riding his motorcycle along with their three-year-old son back to his residence in the alley at Albert Street West when they were set upon by someone who fired several gun shots from behind them. Rhamdas was shot in the left side of the chest and foot, while his common law wife was hit to the left foot and left buttocks. Today police say they have taken one person into custody and are laying the foundations of their investigation. Superintendent of Police, Hilberto Romero, is officer in charge of Criminal Investigation Branch for Eastern Division.
Supt. Hilberto Romero – OC, CIB Eastern Division
“This time we have one person in custody. We are reviewing a footage from the area. We are recording statements and hopefully we can ascertain what actually transpired there. I know he was riding a motorcycle through an alley when he was shot.”
“Have you established a motive?”
Supt. Hilberto Romero
“We do not have a clear motive at this time. We know Mark Rhamdas has been charged before for some shootings and firearms.”
“So you’re more leading towards gang rivalry?”
Supt. Hilberto Romero
“Like I said, I do not have an exact motive but he has in fact yes been investigated for such crimes in the past. He went through that alley and at some point, a lone gone man pull up and fired the shots. As to whether they knew he was comeing, that is the information we are working on.”
This afternoon, we spoke with family of Rhamdas who asked to remain anonymous. They say he was with his family socializing in the evening when he left along with his son to go pick up Ethline from her workplace and it was on their return that the entire family was shot at. Rhamdas instinctively sheltered his son and took the majority of the five gunshots targeted at the family, while Ethline, now in a stable condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, was hit as she went down on the ground to shelter her son. According to the family, Rhamdas kept to himself and did not talk much about his personal affairs, so they are not aware if he knew if anyone was after him. The family says Rhamdas was not associated with gangs and kept out of trouble even though he had levied against him charges of drug trafficking and robbery for separate incidents in 2012. But they also pointed out that police have picked him up several times in the last few weeks in relation to several shooting incidents in the Albert Street/Berkeley Street/East Canal radius. Police investigations continue.