(LOVE FM) – Many residents of San Pedro Town are still trying to process the tragic death of Amari Rodriguez. The three year old was an innocent bystander when two gunmen decided to ambush her family. The incident happened at around midnight last night as Baby Amari laid fast asleep in her mother’s arms, heading home. Except, the child never made it home, and was shot multiple times as she slept. Amari was one of three persons killed in the incident in the San Pedrito area. The other two, 25-year-old, Delmar Rodriguez and Carlos Chi were also on the golf cart heading home, and were just a few yards away. Tonight, Police on the island are on high alert. Reporter Vejea Alvarez has the story.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: A father of three, his infant child and friend are dead, four others are hospitalized and police are on the hunt for their killers. Around midnight the gunmen emerged from this bushy area and unleashed a violent onslaught on the unsuspecting victims as they made their way home to the San Pedrito area. 25 year old Delmer Rodriguez, his spouse, their three year old daughter Amiri and two friends became the targets of the deadly assault a stones throw away from the safety of their homes. Rodriguez’s sister explained that within minutes dozens of bullets were indiscriminately fired killing Rodriguez, Baby Amiri and Carlos Chi.
Sister of Deceased: “I heard the gunshots. It sounded like fireworks and me and my husband ran out through the door when I saw my sister-in-law with my niece in her hands they had gotten shot and she told me “Cunis they shot your brother.” so I ran down and I came to see him. When I saw my brother was thrown away right there. I was sitting down waiting for him at the window but he never reached home and he will never come home again.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Your niece I understand that she was shot four times ?
Sister of Deceased: “Four times.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: How devastating is that ?
Sister of Deceased: “She was in her mother’s hands sleeping. When she came she just told me they shot the baby and they took off with the next person that got shot.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Rodriguez and Chi died on the spot while Baby Amiri was rushed to the hospital where she passed away. His sister says Rodriguez spent the day fishing and took his family out after selling his catch for the day.
Sister of Deceased: “I never go and sit down at the bridge like that to see what is catches and yesterday I went and I went with my two sisters-in-law, my two brothers Delmer Rodriguez and my other brother Kevaughn and my niece hollered “Daddy Daddy you bring lobster for me ?” and Delmber told her “Yes.” He took his angel with him. She was the only girl in the yard. They took an angel. Like I said the person that did it they are some coward persons. They couldn’t come face to face and do it they had to wait for in the bush and ambush them.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: But what sparked such a violent attack ? Rodriguez’s uncle, Jorge Aldana, says the father of three had a criminal past and during that time one of his friends turned foe.
Jorge Aldana, Uncle: “My nephew was no innocent person and I will be the first person to admit that you know at some point they were involved in some level of illicit activities and he tried to move away from that level of activity. In fact he had been cooperating with police over the past year. He has cooperated with the police and as recent as Friday when he received threats from the same people now that are being sought by police that he was gonna be killed. One of the main persons who are being sought by police used to live in the very same yard here. So they grew up together in the same home. My sister-in-law, my nephew’s mother helped raised this child who is now being sought by one of the persons being sought by police.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Aldana Explained that Rodriguez was working with the police and was speaking out against crooked cops working with his alleged killers in the island’s drug trade. However Aldana says that even after the death threats intensified his nephew did not get any protection.
Jorge Aldana, Uncle: “He had sought to give police some level of information that was incriminating to them and so it was time to get rid of who knows a lot. There have been several instances where my nephew, and not only my nephew but several other street elements have come forward to police feeding them with evidence and information about rogue police officers on the island who aid, assist and facilitate these known terrorists in their illicit activities. Police that my nephew, as recent as Friday gave police information that some of these police officers have benefitted in the vicinity of $80,000 to facilitate and aid criminals in San Pedro.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While the callous murders may have spilt over from the island’s drug trade four of the victims were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Police believe the assailants fled by boat and are working with the Belize Coast Guard to capture them.
RADM Elton Bennett, BCG Commandant: “Our operations is very extensive in that area but exceeds the San Pedro Town limitations. We were working with police to work in San Pedro and to work in Northern Ambergris as well where we believe the shooters had escaped. So it’s a, it’ll be a long joint operation that we’ll be doing there with police to try to locate these individuals.”