By Marion V. Ali
Coast Guard officer, Lt. Keyren Tzib, 24, is facing a charge of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm after she shot Petty Officer, Kurt Hyde, 37,n in the face on Easter Monday.
The shooting happened as the two, who were part of a joint team of Belize Defense Force, Police Department, Port Authority and Coast Guard personnel, were on their return leg from an operation in San Pedro Town.
They had almost reached the dock at the Coast Guard headquarters near mile four off the George Price Highway, when the shooting took place around 9:30 a.m.
Police say Tzib, armed with an M-4 Carbine service rifle, walked up to Hyde, who was drivingthe boat, and without saying anything, fired once. The bullet ripped through Hyde’s jaw and came out through his mouth. He underwent surgery the same day. His condition is critical but stable, and he is expected to survive, reports say.
Investigators say they do not know what prompted the shooting. Crimes Investigation Branch chief, Superintendent Hilberto Romero told reporters: “We know of no altercation they had prior to that incident and … we have not established a clear motive…”
Tzib, who is remanded to the Belize Central Prison pending the result of her attorney’s application for bail to the Supreme Court, had been suspected in the past of being mentally unstable, but a medical board declared her fit to serve. Police are also taking into account reports that she has had behavioural problens in the past while on the job.
Her attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, expressed dismay at public comments made on the social media critical of her client.
“It’s most unfortunate that it seems that the case has been tried on Facebook by some people. I think it’s an indication of the little respect we have for our judicial system, and also the little respect we show for women”, she said.
Matura challenged the Coast Guard to answer questions that people have been asking since the incident occurred. One of those questions is whether Tzib experienced any kind of harrassment, humiliation or abuse while working with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard, however, has declined comment.
Keyren Tzib joined the Belize Coast Guard in 2009 while Hyde has been a member since its inception in 2005.
Tzib is to return to court on July 2, 2015.