Minor arraigned for Queen Street shooting was steeped in gang life

A Stann Creek minor, age 15, was charged with attempted murder at Queen Street Police Station. He was alleged to have been brought in to target a well-known gang associate. But indiscriminate gunfire resulted in injuries to 4 persons, including a police officer, and he was unable to get away. A 15 year old minor from Silk Grass, Stann Creek District, has been arraigned on 14 charges including attempted murder and firearm-related offenses, though the full listing is not known as the arraignment took place at the Belize Family Court where reporters cannot sit in on proceedings. The minor is accused of attempting to kill 44 year old Elroy Saldano of Pink’s Alley;thirty-four year old school warden Graciela Castillo; twenty-four year old office clerk Kean Smith; and Police Cpl. Alrick Arnold. When police caught up with him near the Swing Bridge, they recovered an armed 9-millimeter pistol for which he did not have a license, inside his pants’ foot. We have been able to confirm that the minor was hired to hit George Street gang figure and accused murderer Brandon Tillett, aka “BT”. Tillett managed to get away, leaving his slippers behind, but he stayed inside the police compound until the minor was detained. We understand that Tillett was targeted in retaliation for the murder of Michael Wallace on the George Price Highway. The minor was remanded to the Belize Wagner’s Facility until August 23, 2016. According to police, the minor has a long rap sheet and history in the criminal lifestyle, as explained today by Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams:

 

ACP Chester Williams, Officer Commanding Eastern Division (South)

But to touch the issue of the fact that a child is involved, it goes back to what we have been saying. It is paramount that we begin tovlcsnap-2016-06-21-15h37m55s761 focus as a society to remove these kids from the hands of those persons who live every day to perpetuate criminal acts and on Southside we have been doing. Yes, the man involved he is known to be frequenting an area on Southside Belize City and I must say that he has been dealt by the police in the past. We have removed him from the home of a known gang area in Southside Belize City as well and he was sent to Dangriga where we know his mother is and I guess for some reason or another his mother did not supervise him properly so he came back to Belize City and committed this heinous act.

 

Even more frightening than the age of the alleged perpetrator is his boldness in attacking his targets at the heart of police command on Queen Street. Was he acting on his own, or was he coerced? ACP Williams shared his thoughts:

ACP Chester Williams, Officer Commanding Eastern Division (South)

I don’t think the same individual would want to perpetuate an act like that and my belief is that he was not acting on his own volition. I think that he was like what you rightly said he was coerced by someone to go and commit that act and the investigations are on their way and the police are probing to see how much they can get to be able to determine whether or not or who may have forced him to go commit that act at the police station.

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