by Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist
Woman Police Constable Sheneah Caliz was shot to the head on Monday night as police officers encountered an armed robbery in progress on Albert Street, Belize City.
Caliz, 27, a WPC attached to the Traffic Support Unit from Precinct Three was in a Traffic Police Mobile along with two other male officers traveling on Albert Street around 7:50 p.m. on Monday.
According to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, when the mobile patrol reached the vicinity of Scotia Bank, the officers saw a male person of dark complexion wearing a rag covering his face searching another man lying on the pavement. The officers suspected it was a robbery and stopped to investigate.
When the police mobile stopped, the man searching the other on the pavement was apparently accompanied by another male person. When the officers were about to get out of the vehicle, the individual conducting the search opened fired on the officers. Shots hit the windshield of the mobile patrol and wounded Caliz to the head and right hand. The two men then ran away.
One of the officers in the mobile patrol who was unarmed at the time, ran after the thief to see what direction they headed.
Shortly after, the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) responded to the scene. After the incident took place, one of the robbers, now identified as 31-year-old Jamal Jackson ran through a yard in the direction of Prince Street and sustained a large cut wound to his foot and was bleeding profusely.
A GSU officer caught Jackson and took him to the location where he hid the weapon, a nine millimeter Glock pistol with serial number PCV104. It was loaded with nine live rounds.
Jackson is also no stranger to police. He was charged and acquitted for the murder of Nigerian security guard Kabiru Olungundudu at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in 2010.
An identification parade has been conducted and Jackson was positively identified by the victim. Williams said Jackson would be charged for the shooting.
Police are also looking for another man that accompanyied Jackson. Police said there are multiple suspects and they are following all leads.
Wiliams said the gunshot wound Caliz sustained is not life threatening, and that the bullet only grazed her head. Caliz is recovering at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).
Williams said the police response to the shooting was commendable as it is uncommon that criminals so brazenly shoot at police.
“It is our primary duty to make sure that people feel safe and we will continue to discharge those functions. Yes, from time to time, incidents will occur, but when it does, I ask that we be judged on how we respond to those incidents,” Williams said.