American nursing student visiting San Pedro killed in tragic shooting incident

Saturday, December 31st, 2022

A tragic shooting incident at San Pedro’s Central Park on Friday, December 30th has left an American nursing student dead. 23-year-old J’Bria Michelle Bowens from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, who is not believed to be the shooter’s intended target, was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II where she was pronounced dead on arrival. San Pedro police have a few people in custody, while Commissioner of Police (ComPol) Chester Williams has traveled to the island to coordinate the policing efforts to make an arrest in connection with this serious incident that threatens the island’s strongest income earner-tourism.

Shooting incident scene

The official report states that around 9:30 PM police responded to reports of shots fired at Central Park, just in front of Jaguars Night Club. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed Bowens on the ground suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Police’s initial investigation indicate that around 9:27 PM, Bowens along with other family members, was sitting on the back seat of a golf cart when someone came from the direction of the park and started firing several shots towards a man standing by the entrance of the night club. Some of these shots caught Bowens, causing her fatal injuries.

J’Bria Michelle Bowens

Although not mentioned in the police report, according to witnesses, the unidentified gunman opened fire into the crowd, reportedly with an automatic weapon. Those in the park shared that people ran for their lives as over a dozen shots were reportedly fired.

Islanders working in the tourism industry are very concerned about the repercussions of this incident and want the police to bring those responsible to justice, while calling for the San Pedro Town Council to properly monitor the central park, adding better lighting to the area. The devastating death of the young tourist is an absolute tragedy for San Pedro and the tourism industry in the country.

Stakeholders nevertheless advise visitors and potential travelers that this is an isolated incident.

Second tourist fall to gun violence

The last time a tourist was killed happened on June 23, 2020, on the lagoon side of San Pedro. It was a jolt to San Pedro’s tourism industry when American tourist, Dr. Gary Swank, and local tour guide Mario Graniel were gunned down while on a fly-fishing trip. The double murder remains unresolved. According to ComPol Chester Williams, the investigation came to a halt when it was learned that the main suspect had reportedly been killed in Guatemala.

Dr. Gary Swank and Mario Graniel

As in the case of Bowens, police concluded that tour guide Graniel was the sole target and Dr. Swank was described as collateral damage.

We will continue following this story.


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