26 year old officer of the Belize National Coast Guard Keyren Tzib has been charged with the attempted murder of fellow officer Kurt Hyde, 37, of Ontario, Cayo District. Petty Officer First Class Hyde is reported to be stabilized but still in critical condition after being shot in the face around 9:42 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 6. According to police, a team of members of Belize’s law enforcement authorities – police, Coast Guard, Belize Port Authority and Belize Defence Force were coming into the Coast Guard’s base at Mile 4 1/2 on the George Price Highway, reportedly from a mission in the area of Sarteneja, Corozal District. According to our sources, they picked up two unidentified officers who were assigned to San Pedro Town and were reportedly being brought in to answer to disciplinary charges. However, as the vessel captained by Hyde was preparing to dock, a single gunshot was fired and Hyde was thereafter seen on the ground with a wound to his neck. Tzib was reportedly seen with an M-4 carbine in her hand and police recovered a 5.56 expended shell used in such weapons from the scene. Hyde is now in treatment at the KHMH. Superintendent of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Branch at Eastern Division, Hilberto Romero, says police continue their investigation to establish a motive for the incident. He also discusses reports that the accused had a history of such encounters.
“ “We know of no altercation they had prior to that incident.”
Supt. Hilberto Romero
“We have not established a clear motive at this time and we are continuing with the investigation at this time.”
“In terms of the accused, we understand that she has had incidences with other police before.”
Supt. Hilberto Romero
“We will go back as far as necessary. Again we have just done the preliminary phase of that investigation and we have statements that are recorded and as a result, she has been charged.”
“So, you have no record that that is the case, that she has a history?”
Supt. Hilberto Romero
“That is a part of the investigation that we are following. I don’t have every detail of each one of the cases but we are following up on the cases.”
We also understand that the accused shooter was suspected of being mentally unstable but remained on duty after a medical board declared her fit to continue working, earning the ire of fellow officers. The suspected shooter is alleged to have previously pulled her weapon on several fellow officers but not in circumstances that warranted dismissal. Officer Tzib appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith and was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. She was remanded into custody until July 2. She has retained Audrey Matura-Shepherd as counsel. Matura-Shepherd outlines the next steps for her client and addresses online rumors that she says have the potential to unsettle the handling of the case.
“Yes. That’s one of the things that must be done because at this level due to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, she cannot get bail before a magistrate, but she can get bail before the Supreme Court. So, that’s the route we will go to get Supreme Court bail.”
“I know you’re not able to try this case in the public arena, is there anything at all that you can tell us about what happened or what your client has said?”
“I will not give the detail of anything of what happened, but I am most disappointed that people have been casting aspersions and have been saying mean things. There is a lot more into the case or maybe there is not, but it’s unfortunate that it seems that the case has been tried on Facebook by some people. I think it’s an indication of the little respect we have our judicial system and also of the respect we show for women. I won’t even repeat some of the things that I understand have been posted, but I’ll just say that people should just take time and step back and reflect. it’s a serious offense which she’s being charged with and whatever allegations, anything that is being said, there are serious matters to be dealt with and the coast guard especially needs to answer a lot of the questions, since I understand that there are a lot of information that has been leaked through them. They have a lot to answer to.”