Suspects accused of Hopkins nightclub mass shooting in police custody
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022
A deadly shooting executed by three men in the Garifuna village of Hopkins in southern Belize shocked many across the country and was condemned by local and governmental organizations. According to authorities, the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday, July 31st, leaving two dead and eight injured. The altercation was believed to be triggered by one of the deceased and the shooters. The police have since detained three suspects, and an investigation will be taking place before any charges are levied.
According to the initial investigation, Joshua Moro was at a nightclub in Hopkins when he reportedly approached a woman who three men were courting. When he inquired if everything was well, an altercation ensued between the men. Commissioner of Police (ComPol) Chester Williams added that the men left the nightclub but later returned, armed, and stormed inside the club. They reportedly started shooting, and Moro was the first person to be shot. Moro later succumbed to the injuries. The second person who was killed was not identified. Three of the injured are reportedly police officers.
Following the incident, police released the names and images of the suspects identifying them as 28-year-old Brian Andrews, 28-year-old Kenyon Moore, and 35-year-old Sherwin Moore. While the hunt for them was ongoing, Hopkins’ Chairman Macario Augustine issued a video statement on social media. He said the nightclub shooting was an isolated incident and pledged security would be heightened in the village for other entertainment events.
Hours later, on Sunday, ComPol Williams confirmed the capture of the three gunmen. According to the report by Williams, the suspects were intercepted near Silk Grass Village in a vehicle. “The three suspects will be interviewed shortly, and it is anticipated that they will be charged with two counts of Murder and several counts of Attempted Murder,” Williams said. ComPol added that there is also an investigation against the nightclub proprietor for breaches of his license’s conditions for not having an adequate emergency exit. The other issue raised by Williams is that the said establishment did not have sufficient security, and a minor was also inside the nightclub.
The incident is the first of its kind and has triggered an official note from the Government of Belize. “The Government of Belize grieves with the families of those whose lives were lost as a result of this indiscriminate shooting that left two persons dead and eight injured, including three police officers. The government condemns, in the strongest terms, the senseless violence,” the note read.
Other organizations lamenting the incident included the Belize Progressive Party, who offered condolences and raised concerns about the fact that a minor was inside the club. The National Commission for Families and Children also issued a statement about the incident. “It is clear that a 15-year-old should not be in a bar or nightclub, which must be reserved for adults. We call on law enforcement to fully investigate the management of the nightclub and to let the law takes its course for this grave infraction,” part of the statement read.
In addition, a call was made to all parents and guardians to be ever vigilant in ensuring that minors are not allowed in such establishments. The incident is considered to be a family and child protection issue of extreme importance.
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