8 Tragedies 1 Deadly Easter Weekend Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 00:00

The 2012 Holy weekend was one of the most deadly in Belize’s history. The first unexpected death occurred when 19-year-old Victor Foreman went swimming with friends in the Vista del Mar area on Saturday, April 7. He was swimming way out in the deep when his friends noticed he went under and did not resurface. Foreman drowned shortly after 3 that afternoon.

The second tragedy was the murder of 37-year-old Herman Lanza. Lanza is a former gang member, who served time in prison and turned his life around. He turned to faith and attended church regularly. Lanza was finally on good footing when he recently got a job as the driver of a doctor. However, he was always conscious of the fact that his past could come back to haunt him. On Saturday, April 7, it did. He was riding his bicycle near the corner of Casuarina and Poinsettia Streets in the Lake Indepence Area, one block away from his Black Orchid Street residence, when he was ambushed by multiple men. Lanza struggled with the men but was shot to the head, hands, abdomen and back. His attackers fled the scene and Lanza was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he died undergoing surgery. Police recovered four expended 12-gauge cartridges and 2 9mm expended shells on the scene. No one has been charged as yet and police continues to investigate.

The third death of the weekend occurred on Saturday as well. 33-year-old Dean Smith of Hattieville Village was riding his bicycle on the Western Highway around 8:30 p.m., when he was run over by a Grey and Black Mitsubishi Montero being driven by Julian Martinez of Belize City. Smith received severe head and body injuries and died on the side of the road where his body fell after the hit. Police arrested and charged Martinez with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. He was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, April 10. No bail was granted since the charges are indictable offenses. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith remanded Martinez until May 28.

On Sunday, Bryden Chan, a 1-year-old child, was killed in a traffic accident on north Front Street in Sarteneja Village, Corozal. 20-year-old Luis Tzul was driving his black Ford pickup truck around 4 in the afternoon and as he was passing a bar on North Front Street, Chan ran across the road in front of the vehicle. Tzul was unable to stop the vehicle in time to avoid the toddler and he ran her over. The child died as a result of severe head and body injuries. Police investigation into the incident continues.

Tzul was charged on April 10 with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving without due care and attention and failure to provide a specimen.

The fifth person to die over the weekend was Antoine Tillett. Antoine was home from the United States on vacation. He and his family decided to spend the weekend in Placencia. According to eyewitness reports, Tillett was kayaking when his vessel flipped over. Tillett was trapped and struggled to free himself. One relative saw him struggling but thought he was playing. A few seconds later, there was no sign of Tillett and the cousin knew that something was wrong. He alerted other family members and they called the police and divers in the area. A team searched for Tillett and found his body in a sitting position beneath the water. Attempts were made to resuscitate him but it was to no avail. He had two children.  

The third drowning and sixth death of the weekend occurred off the shores of St. George’s Caye shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon.  41-year-old Belizean artist, Herbert Moore, went fishing near St. George’s Caye with his wife and two friends. One of his friend’s fishing line hooked an object under water. Moore suited up in diving gear and went to recover the hook. However, he never resurfaced. His wife contacted the Coast Guard, who executed a search and rescue. The body of Herbert Moore was found 2 hours later.

The seventh person to die over the long weekend was 22-year-old Kevin Pott. Pott left his house to drop his girlfriend, Shanice Rowland, home just before 7:30 p.m. on Monday night. He made it to Mahogany Street in the Lake Independence Area, when a shooter with blue shorts and blue cap rode up on a bicycle and fired several shots at them. Pott was shot in his head, back and lower abdomen. He died on the spot. Rowland was shot in the chest. She is expected to recover from her injuries. No arrest was made up to press time in this case.

The eighth person to die over the weekend was 32-year-old Eleno Requena. Requena spent his Monday afternoon swimming and enjoying himself in Rockville. Later that night, he went to a grocery store in Hattieville and took 10-year-old Cameron Williams with him. According to reports, on his way back home he was ambushed near  Colonel ornel English Bridge at mile fifteen and a half on the Western Highway by a person dressed in dark clothing. The person walked up to him and opened fire. Requena was shot in the abdomen and Williams received gunshot injuries to his feet. Requena died as a result of his injury. Reports are that he was receiving threats prior to his murder. Police continue to investigate and are asking members of the community to come forward with information relating to any of the murders.