Weekend violence wracks Belize City Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

Maurice Neal and Stephan FlowersThis weekend was the beginning of the 2011 September Celebrations, which is a joyous time and a time for Belizeans to be patriotic. But, while the festivities got underway, 5 people became the victims of shooting incidents. 2 of those people succumbed to their injuries, and Belize City residents tell the media, that these shootings are becoming more senseless and random.

It began at around 5:20 p.m. on Friday a few hours before the National Song Competition. Maurice Neal, 32, and Jessica Cadle, 10, bought some items at a Chinese store; right across from Neal’s welding workplace.

Residents told the media that Neal became acquainted with Cadle as one of the children living near his workplace, and he always treats some of the neighborhood kids from time to time.

Police said that when both Neal and Cadle arrived at the corner of West Canal and Berkeley Street two men approached them very quickly; one of the men pulled out a firearm and fired several shots at both of them.

Neal suffered gunshot wounds to the left side of the abdomen, center of back, left side of the back, right elbow, right side of the chest and the left side of head. Cadle was injured on the right ankle.

The men then ran off and escaped. Police, who were already operating about 3 blocks away, quickly responded and rushed both Neal and Cadle to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Unfortunately, Neal died on the way. Cadle is recovering from her injury.

Neal was a hard-working man with a new wife, an 11 months-old baby, and a 6 year-old daughter. By all accounts, he was no trouble-maker, and kept to himself.

Approximately 2 hours later, at around 7:15 p.m., Michael “Cabbage” Hemmans, 30, left a residence in the vicinity of the corner of Santa Barbara and Vernon Streets, to secure his vehicle. That’s when an unknown gunman fired several shots in his direction and escaped into the night.

Hemmans suffered gunshot wounds to the right hand, right buttocks, left hip and a graze to the left forearm. He is recovering from his injuries.

In the middle of the Performances at Memorial Park for the National Song Competition, there was another shooting incident.

This time, it took place in front of the La Catracha Bar on Barrack Road. At around 8:50 p.m., 18 year-old Albert Dennis Robinson was riding his bicycle, going about his business, when someone fired a gunshot at him under the cover of darkness.

He was hit in the right side of his abdomen, and he was rushed to the hospital, and he was in critical condition.

The city quieted down for the entire Saturday, all through the Carnival King and Queen Competition. However, during the middle of the ceremony for the Official Opening of the September Celebrations on Saint George’s Caye, a homeless man was shot and killed on the corner of King and George Streets.

This man was identified as John Garbutt AKA “Speedy”, and it has been speculated that his murder involved members of the George Street Gang, as a direct result of their Friday altercation with the Gang Suppression Unit. However, highly placed sources say that this man was murdered by someone trying to create more “heat” for GSG in the hopes that another confrontation with the police will ensue.

Whatever the case may be, Belize City residents told the media that this man didn’t deserve his violent end.

There was another casualty on Friday night at 9:11 p.m. 18 year-old Stephan Flowers succumbed to his gunshot injuries which he received on the night of August 13, 2011.

Police had reported that Flowers and Ian Henkis, another Belize City resident, were riding their bicycles on Mopan Street Street; they were heading toward Sibun Street.

Police continued that a man came up behind them and fired several shots in their direction. One of the bullets caught Flowers in the left side of the abdomen.

Police have not identified any suspects in these shootings.