Police in Belize City have confirmed the passing of one of their own in a bizarre incident over the weekend. According to official reports, Police Constable Glen Wayne Grant, 32, attached to Precinct One on Euphrates Avenue, was riding his bicycle going home from a function on Central American Boulevard. Upon reaching the corner with Nargusta Street in front of Public Supermarket he saw two men engaged in a struggle. One of them was in a white t-shirt and blue 3/4 pants holding a firearm. P.C. Grant pulled out his 9mm service pistol and fired several shots at both men, who were injured. But one of those men was a fellow Police constable, Dean Yearwood, 24, working out of Racoon Street Headquarters, Police Precinct Two. PlusNews spoke with Dean Yearwood’s uncle, Kevin Yearwood on Monday who told us why PC Yearwood was struggling with the other man.
My nephew was home. A female officer texted him, and asked him to meet her at the Belcan Bridge, and he went. He never stayed focused. He went by Public’s Supermarket. There are two cameras protected by a wire cage were focused the front. The cameras show my nephew. He wasn’t focused. When he got to the road, there was a car there and he got attacked. There were two of them, and one had a gun. He pulled out his revolver and shot one who then fell down.
P.C. Yearwood was shot in the back, while 21 year old Brian Vasquez, a construction worker of Mopan Street, was found in a yard a few feet away also shot in the back. Vasquez has since been stabilized and remains in critical condition at the KHMH. P.C. Dean Yearwood, however, passed away even before he arrived at the KHMH for treatment. His uncle further stated his grievances as it pertains to the circumstances in which his nephew was shot – an act he claims was unwarranted.
Kevin Yearwood – Uncle of Deceased: [Paraphrased]
When you hear a shot fired, you respond. My nephew shot the one in front of him, who had the gun. He dropped down, but he wasn’t dead. The other one ran. My nephew chased him and fired a shot at him. This was caught on the camera. I’ve done my own investigation. If you see him chase a man and fire shots at him, you don’t know what happened, but you get out your gun and you shoot. You shoot so many rounds in the back to slow him down. He got shot in the back and the bullet came out his front.
A .38 Special Revolver belonging to P.C. Yearwood and identified as his service weapon was recovered along with P.C. Grant’s 9mm Beretta pistol carrying five live rounds. Eleven 9mm expended shells and a projectile fragment were recovered from the scene along with four .38 expended shells.
Police Commissioner Allen Whylie has ordered a criminal and internal investigation on the tragic incident that claimed the life of PC Dean Yearwood. But he had to explain to the press on Monday why this incident has not been classified as a murder.
It’s a criminal investigation, and it’s an internal investigation. Well it’s a criminal investigation because an officer died and another officer was involved in the shooting. I cannot say it’s a murder because murder means pre-meditation, it was intentional, and there’s nothing here to indicate that there was any intent from anybody to kill anybody. I cannot say we’re treating it as a murder investigation. It’s a criminal investigation.
Commissioner Whylie also discussed further steps taken by the Department in light of the tragedy.
Allen Whylie – Police Commissioner:
It’s a tragedy that has befallen the Department, and as a result this Police shooting of a Police officer. I have already directed our Director of Training and the Commandant to look at our existing protocols concerning the use of firearms, reviewing the training syllabus. We have got to learn from this incident, and it’s obvious that one of the things that we’ve got to go back to again is training, retraining in terms of firearms, justifiable force and harm. We also perhaps need to find some way to identify officers when they are off-duty, that in the event some kind of situation arises, one officer would know that the other person is an officer.
The Commissioner repeatedly made it clear that each officer is expected to use his or her training to react to a situation they see developing and noted that many officers, like himself, have never had to draw their weapons on or off-duty, but some do. It has also been established that the scene which P.C. Grant came upon was an apparent robbery in progress. Assistant Superintendent of Police Hilberto Romero described this developmen
Our investigations reveal so far that it was some sort of robbery that occurred at the time, and this officer to that robbery that was in progress. He was in civilian clothing at the time. The investigation is ongoing at this time. The information is that he saw the robbery, and he responded to it.
The Commissioner has assured the Nation that a complete investigation will take place and its results will be forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
But Dean Yearwood’s Uncle Kevin Yearwood isn’t the least bit satisfied with the investigation being classified as a “criminal investigation” as opposed to a “murder investigation”. In an emotional response to Monday’s press conference, Kevin Yearwood explained why.
Oh it’s not a murder? He calls it a criminal investigation? So he needs to go home because criminal investigation could mean anything -if someone steals a 5 cent or 10 cents – that’s a criminal investigation. So my nephew’s life just gone just like that? That is what he said at the press conference – that means nothing will come out of it. All they will do is just bury him and what will happen to the police man that shot him? He will just walk?
Well he will receive counseling.
Counselling – that’s the word, no training so if he gets the break to do this again he will do it again. If the man had the gun point to him, I wouldn’t even do this interview because I wouldn’t have anything to say because then my nephew pointed the gun at the man but he got shot back way.