A 15 year-old gunman, identified to us as Julian Tun, has been arrested and criminally charged with a number of offences including attempted murder of a police officer. On Friday, June 17, he was caught fleeing from a shootout after he shot the cop and tried to kill a suspected member of the George Street Gang, right in front of the Queen Street Police Station.
The young man is a minor, which normally affords him the privilege from anyone in the media publishing his photograph. But, in this particular instance, The Guardian believes that it is in the interest of public good, for readers to see the person brazen enough to behave like a hired hitman.
On that morning, Brandon Tillett, AKA B.E.T. a reputed member of the George Street gang, went to the Queen Street Police Station to sign in as he is required to do every Friday. That’s one of his conditions given to him by the court in order to maintain bail for a criminal charge that he is currently facing. It is well-known that gang personalities don’t ordinarily leave their home turf because their enemies usually try to capitalize on those opportunities. The only time is when they have to attend court or go to the police station. That’s exactly the situation which played out when SSG Boss Andre Trapp was shot and killed in front of the court house in June 2010.
On last week Friday, that 15 year-old showed up across the street from the Queen Street Police Station well-dressed in a pair of khaki trousers, a blue shirt and a white shirt thrown over the blue. He could have passed for an ordinary law-abiding citizen, which was probably the intention. Reports to the press are that he even bought tacos from the street vendor and ate some while he was waiting. But, as soon as Brandon Tillett exited the front gate of the police station, which was at around 8:30 a.m., the young man pulled out a black glock 9mm pistol and he started firing at his intended target. He missed Tillett, and according to police the spray of gunfire injured 3 other persons including Kean Smith, Elroy Saldana and Graciela Castillo. All this was happening in the height of the morning rush on the crowded Queen Street, with adults going to work and children going to school.
Police Corporal Alrick Arnold, who is in charge of the Belize City Magistrate’s Court’s Holding Cell, was heading to the police station. He immediately spotted the shoot out happening, and like any respectable, on-duty cop, he immediately pulled his service weapon and engaged the gunman to protect the civilians who were in danger. By this time, the gunman had already fired multiple shots, but he had already missed his target, and so, he saw the officer coming to engage him, and a gunfight takes place. Corporal Arnold fired shots at him, and he returned fire injuring the officer in the chest. The officer’s life was saved because the bullet first hit his cell-phone which was in his upper breast pocket of his Police Uniform Shirt.
With the officer down, the 15 year-old then immediately tried to flee but responding police officers detained him minutes later with the gun in his possession. All injured victims were rushed to the KHMH, and the doctors were able to treat their injuries. Corporal Arnold was admitted in a critical condition, but the surgeons saved his life, and a few days later, he was able to walk around briefly in his hospital room. Police have since charged the young man with 4 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of dangerous harm, 4 counts of use of deadly means of harm, 2 counts of wounding, 1 count of possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of unlicensed ammunition.
On Monday, June 20, he was arraigned at the Family Court, and he has been remanded into custody until his next court date. Police have reason to believe that this young man may have been coerced into committing the crime, and there is suspicion in the street that this shooting incident is the consequence of a feud between two of the Belize City Gangs.