Friday, June 14, 2024

Murder victims’ families call out police; want to speak with Police Minister

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The mass shooting in San Pedrito, which left three dead, Delmar Rodriguez, 25, his baby daughter Amari Rodriguez, and friend Carlos Chi, continues to shock the community. The violent attack in the early hours of October 23rd also injured four other persons. Even though police have arrested and charged two suspects, Christian Espat and Michal Brown, the families of the fatal victims say police ignored their reports of threats. A week following the deadly shooting, they issued a statement talking about the heinous crime that has torn them apart.

Delmar Rodriguez and Carlos Chi

The statement shared on Monday, October 30th, claims homegrown terrorists committed the homicides. The one-page release from the families reads, “While the police department has kept our families uninformed about the investigation, we have gathered enough information about the accused killers, their affiliates, and the level of capability, accessibility to illegal firearms, cash from drug proceeds, and most importantly, their deep connections with rogue police officers on and off the island. The web of connections, masterminding capabilities to carry out executions is unbelievable.”
The victims’ families, however, are confident that justice will prevail. They appeal to those who wish to retaliate to put down their guns and allow the justice system to take its course. “Our primary focus at this time is that justice be served, especially for those innocently killed.” The families also want to meet with the Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Kareem Musa, and his Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Arthurs, to put forward their concerns as they relate to the unfortunate and senseless killings and the way the investigation is handled. They noted that the police department had knowledge of the threats against Rogriguez well in advance and took no steps to ensure his safety.

Christian Espat and Michael Brown

A request made by the affected families is for the police department to appoint an independent attorney to represent their interests, advise, and appraise the families throughout the investigation.
In the meantime, Espat and Brown continue to claim their innocence. They both turned themselves over to the police after they were named persons of interest. Although Espat showed evidence that he was out of the country during the murders, he and Brown were charged with Murder, Attempt Murder, and use of Deadly Means of Harm. They have been remanded to the Kolbe-Foundation Belize Central Prison until their court date on December 28, 2023.

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