By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
Belmopan police have detained one suspect and are seeking another in connection with the nation’s 16th murder, which occurred after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday at a bar in Teakettle, Cayo and claimed the life of a Chinese businessman.
The incident took place at 69 Bar, located between miles 52 and 53 on the George Price Highway. Reports indicate that the victim, Zhi Jiang Zhang, 52, was picking up empty bottles that patrons had left behind when a masked man, came inside the business by climbing through a window on the third floor.
The man, who was armed with a nine millimeter pistol demanded money from Zhi, who at first complied, but changed his mind and decided to wrest the gun away. The magazine fell out of the weapon and Zhi ran, but his attacker found a knife nearby and pursued him, stabbing him in the back several times before slashing his throat.
In the process of that attack, a woman employed at the establishment tried to assist Zhi before he fought with the assailant and was shot to the leg. Another female employee who was inside a room where the gunman entered on the third floor, suffered a head injury when he pistol-whipped her to silence her from alerting the others downstairs.
Police found Zhi’s body in a pool of blood on the floor of a bedroom behind the bar and have recovered a nine millimeter expended shell, a machete and a knife which was stained with what appeared to be blood. Police discovered some cash, but they strongly suspect that the thief went away with money and that robbery was the motive of the murder.
Police have been unable to give a definitive amount of how much was stolen in the incident but said they are pursuing another person of interest as their investigations continue.
Zhi opened the business about a year ago and residents of the area had complained of the business, describing it as a place of ill repute, where the female workers were commercial sex workers.