A French mother and daughter visiting Belize and a man were injured this morning at the Brown Sugar Marketplace compound in Belize City after the owner of a licensed 9 mm. firearm accidentally dropped his weapon while attempting to pull up his pants.
It occurred around 9:50 a.m. when 76 year old O.J. “John” Holden, the owner of Ocean Side Night Club on Caye Caulker, was with a friend in the North Front Street compound.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Gualberto Garcia, the commander of Police Precinct 3 in Belize City, explains what transpired.
“The firearm was pointed down as you can imagine and the bullet actually hit the floor, and the pieces hit two tourists that were coming out immediate to their own area, being two females, a mother and daughter. Both persons have been treated by BERT personnel, and as far as we are concerned, they refused to be transported to the KHMH and they returned with the injuries”.
The single bullet in the chamber discharged upon the 9mm pistol hitting the ground and broke into pieces, which ricocheted and struck Holden’s companion and both women, identified as 44 year old Isabelle Fillinger, a legal officer for a major toys and games store group in Paris, France, and her 12 year old daughter, Lise.
Neither woman sought treatment beyond emergency treatment from Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) personnel called to the scene as they refused to go to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Holden’s friend, not identified, sustained minor abrasions. We understand that the women have declined to pursue court action against Holden, but ASP Garcia says Police still have to go through a formal investigation
Mr. Gualberto Garcia- Assistant Superintendent of Police: “We are conducting very preliminary investigation now. Most naturally, we have to record a statement from the person who actually did the discharge and we are getting some witnesses within the area and an investigation will be carried out to see of there will be any charges levied against the person”.
According to Garcia, it was necessary to clear the immediate area this morning so that Police could go through the scene, causing a halt to a busy day for cruise ship operators and businessmen and women in the area.