This morning around 10:30 a.m., gunshots rang out, not far from the downtown area on North Front Street, near its intersection with Pinks Alley. When all had settled, one man lay dead at the North Front and Pinks Alley junction. All around him lay expended shells, a total of eight.
From what PLUS News has pieced together, the victim, identified as Tulio Caceres, also known as “Pinelo”, 30, a building inspector and a resident of Taylor’s Alley in Belize City.
Caceres had been socializing in a small neighborhood park when a single armed man came from the alley, walked up to him and opened fire three times.
Caceres fled, but the gunman gave chase and caught up to him, continuing to fire as he did. Caceres’ wounds included shots to the back and chest. Even for a neighborhood injured to violence, residents who ringed the police barricade appeared dazed by the audacity and ruthless efficiency of the killing.
The shooting happened a half a block east of the Queen Street Police Station, and police responded almost immediately, but Caceres had already died on the spot.
In March of this year he was an organizer along with Perry “Sticks” Smith of the 10th Days of Healing Initiative in his neighborhood of Taylor’s Alley.
Hereby, we repeat what he told us then about his hopes for change.
“I have heard about it already, “Sticks” encourage me a lot, and I pick up from one person weh I namely know. I just know awn by name, now I know awn by face, and da wa sweet person, and I glad she touch me pan levels to clean my community, caw’ if you look rong, I no see this now for years. I feel proud a weh I dih do right now, although dem try stop me dis mawning fahn do weh I mih dih do, I give thanks to Miss Vaughn, and mih lee bway “sticks” green people neva deh togethe, together, mek neighbours interact with each other, or mek members interact with we, weh people call gang members. At the end of the day, two persons pushed me and still got me eena it and I no dih stop!”
This is the fifth shooting incident in Belize City in the last six days. Officer Commanding Precinct 3, Superintendent Gualberto Garcia, says police have tagged this incident, like the others, as gang-related.
“Unfortunately we do not have a motive as such as to why he was killed. however, I can confirm that it is gang related, and we are treating it that way”.
Reporter: “People are of the opinion that Taylor’s Alley and Majestic are rivals. Why would this person from Taylor’s Alley be in enemy territory?”
Superintendent Gualberto Garcia: “Well, every time we have meeting and as ourselves, we know the intelligence dealing with the gang rivals that is upon us and we know basically who the players are, the basic gangs who are related with whom, who are rivals and this one is new to us because as you have said, where this guy comes from is a rival to where he was murdered and apparently, he was socializing in that area. So, it is new to us and we are looking at very specific about what is the situation about that”.
Police had revised their patrols in the area in light of what happened on Sunday night not half a block away, but they were not able to stop what happened.
They are also looking into the possibility that Caceres was lured to his death, as with the known rivalry between Taylor’s Alley and Majestic Alley gangs there would be no reason, in the Police’s minds, for Caceres to have been there.
But he was known to residents in the area. Police have collected valuable surveillance camera footage from the Chinese shop located right next to the crime scene as well as one at City Hall across the street. But their most important asset is the human eye, as Supt. Garcia tells us.
Superintendent Gualberto Garcia: “Whenever an incident of that nature occurs , we have to look at all the assets that are on us, and fortunately most of these businesses that have cameras have assisted us. At this point, our investigators are out there, looking at this cameras, at other businesses that have their own cameras to see if anything can be withdrawn from these cameras that can be of interest to assist us in our investigation. Nonetheless, there are or were a lot of people in this thoroughfare. If you go right now, you will see that in that same very spot that he was sitting, it is very crowded, and I believe that at the time of the shooting, it was no different. Unfortunately, the routine scenario is that the people didn’t see it and don’t know about anything. So, I am asking for you to help us”. To deal with this problem, we have to be brave enough and come to our aid, you don’t even have to show your face; just call 922, you can even get a reward for doing the right thing, and don’t wait until crime hits your door”.
St. Mary’s Primary School on Angel Lane sent its students home for the afternoon in light of today’s events. Police are looking for persons of interest to assist their investigations but no one has so far been detained.