Crime

Guatemalan bandit killed by police in carjacking attempt

By Michelle Sutherland

A failed carjacking attempt has led to the death of a Guatemalan national and gunshot injuries to another after they were engaged in a shootout with Belizean authorities over the weekend.

The men, both residents of Melchor De Mencos, Guatemala, have been identified as 37-year-old Ervin Rene Huex, deceased, and 20 year-old Marlon Benedicto Portillo.

On Saturday July 8, sometime after 2:00 p.m., a team of Special Patrol Unit personnel responded to the Calla Creek road after receiving information that 2 armed bandits had stolen a black Toyota Hilux pickup truck from the owner at gunpoint and was attempting to smuggle the vehicle over to Guatemala through Bullet Tree village.

A high speed chase between the bandits and police ensued after the men drove past a police checkpoint, which was set up on the Bullet Tree Road.

The chase, however, did not last very long. According to police, the men ended up crashing the vehicle into a fence and attempted to make a run toward the Mopan River river but not before one of the culprits took out a firearm and fired multiple shots at the authorities, which prompted the officers to fire back.

ACP Chester Williams, O.C. Professional Standards Branch said: “During the pursuit, one of the bandits was firing shots at the police. This was the deceased Huex, who received one gunshot wound to the right chest region, while Portillo received gunshot wounds to the groin area and buttocks. Both men came to a stop right on the river bank. Apparently their intention was to escape across the river but they did not make it.”

The gunman reportedly fell into the Mopan River and succumbed to his injuries after police pulled him out. Portillo was taken to the San Ignacio hospital for treatment, awaiting the outcome of an investigation by San Ignacio police.

An internal and criminal investigation into to the matter was launched by the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie in an effort to determine whether the force used by the officers was justifiable by law.

The stolen Hilux, along with a .32 revolver and five live rounds, were recovered from the crime scene by police.

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