On election night around 9:30 p.m. there was a murder in Belize City. But police were quick to respond and in fact caught up with the culprit in the immediate area – and shot him dead. 32 year old Jervis Valencio is believed to be the man who moments earlier shot at a group of men and women socializing in a yard on Mayflower Street off Vernon Street, killing 36 year old Moses Gonguez of Sibun Street, and wounding 23 year old Triston Gordon of Casuarina Street.
According to police, Jervis Valencio then ran off and upon reaching at the corner with Mayflower and Vernon Streets, he was ordered to stop by police, who had already taken up positions to block any escape route. However, Valencio turned towards the direction of the police and pointed a black pistol in their direction. Police responded by firing several shots at Jervis Valencio causing injuries to the neck and upper part of his chest.
For more on what police believed happened to Moses Gonguez and Triston Gordon, here is Superintendent of Police Hilberto Romero, officer commanding criminal investigation branch.
“Investigations revealed that around 9:30 pm Moses Gonguez along with Triston Gordon were associating in the yard with about four other persons included two females ,when a gunman, believed to be Jervis Valencia, approached him and fired several shots which led to the death of Moses Gonguez.
The body has been taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where a post mortem will be conducted.
Triston Gordon was treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and thereafter released. He was only shot to the leg.
We do not have an exact motive at this time, we know that these persons Valencia and Gonguez are from the same area and we are still trying to establish what led to his shooting, why they had that conflict which led to that shooting. He received several gunshots to the forehead, to the arm and to the chest.
There is a mobile patrol as well as a check point with officers at 150 yards away from where that shooting occurred. The officers were responding to shots being fired in the immediate area the incident occurred in a small area the officers heard the shots and they took up positions to see if anyone would come in their direction, if anyone was fleeing from where the shots were being fired.
We recovered several expended shells around the body of Moses Gonguez and we are still trying to sort out the expended shells from the scene to see which fire arms fired what shells, those will be taken to the laboratory for analysis.”
Police know Jervis Valencio, Moses Gonguez and Triston Gordon to live in the same general area.
Moses Gonguez was recently charged with soliciting for a criminal gang in the Police’s roundup of suspected gang members last year.
Triston Gordon was a victim of the infamous grenade attack in the neighborhood in May of 2010 and Jervis Valencio has been charged with numerous incidents. But how do police justify shooting Valencio?
While the Professional Standards Branch (PSB) is conducting the usual investigation for a police-involved shooting, Superintendent Romero says there is little doubt that the officers were defending their lives after being unable to get Jervis Valencio to cooperate and turn himself in.
“Valencia pointed a nine millimeter pistol towards them.
He was ordered to stop and he refused to cooperate. The nine millimeter pistol that he had was recovered beside his body that was on the street. It contained an extended magazine with several live rounds of ammunition.”
Responding officers – both mobile patrol and officers from the checkpoint on Vernon Street – fired a total of four shots at Valencio. They are still trying to determine how many shots were fired on Gonguez and the rest of his group. The police’s criminal and internal investigations continue.