One man caught in Tropical Education Center robbery Print E-mail
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Thursday, 11 February 2016 00:00

Twenty one year-old Adolphus Palacio, a resident of Mahogany Heights, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. He went straight from the KHMH, where he was being treated for a chop wound he allegedly received after shooting a man for his vehicle which he used to flee from the scene of a robbery.

The incident happened at the Tropical Education Center, a guest house that the Belize Zoo opened in 1994 to host conservation-minded tourists who are excited to experience Belize’s wildlife in western Belize. The Center, located between miles 28 and 29 on the George Price Highway, was hosting 2 Canadians, 75 year-old Stephen Temple and 65 year-old Cynthia Fredrick, who were enjoying their stay in Belize. They reported to the staff at the Tropical Education Center that at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 7, two thieves, one of them armed, held them up at gunpoint, locked them in the bathroom of their room, searched their belongings and stole 2 cameras, and 2 iPhones.

Fredrick reported that she had only just exited her room, and she was taking the picture of a crocodile which was nearby. The men snuck up on her from behind, and ordered her to open the door where they held both of them hostage while the robbery was taking place. The men then exited the back gate of the Tropical Education Center where they came out on a dirt road which leads to the George Price Highway. They flagged down the first vehicle which came down the road, and their intention was to assault that person and steal his vehicle.

The unfortunate victim they came upon was 52 year-old Jorge Lopez, who stopped to render aid, as any responsible and kind person would do. As soon as he jumped out of the vehicle, the assailant with the weapon pulled it out and shot Lopez in the back. He fell to the ground, and according to Lopez, his shooter pointed the gun to his head pulled the trigger 3 more times. Fortunately, the gun misfired. He used that opportunity to pull a machete and chop his assailant on the arm. The accomplice reportedly picked up a rock, and tried to hit Lopez on the head with it, but Lopez used his arm to deflect the blow. The older gentleman says that the rock wielder instructed the injured gunman to shoot him in the head, the men instead jumped into his red Mazda pickup and drove off.

Palacio Jr. showed up to the KHMH with a chop wound injury very much like the one that Lopez inflicted on his attacker, and that’s when police were called in. They placed a police guard at the hospital to watch him, and sometime between Tuesday, February 9, and Wednesday, February 10, he was released into police custody by his doctors. Palacio was then arrested and charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. He was escorted to court with his arm heavily bandaged, and he was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. Though he pleaded not guilty to the charges, the Magistrate did not grant him any bail. He was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 12.