By Michelle Sutherland
The Orange Walk community erupted into chaos on Monday night as several residents staged an impromptu protest outside the Northern Regional Hospital following the death of a young man and injuries to another during a high-speed police chase.
The teenager, identified as Jesus Sacul, 20, a delivery man of Orange Walk Town, reportedly died at the Northern Regional Hospital while receiving treatment. His companion, identified as 19-year-old Jairo Guerra, also a delivery man, was reportedly injured during the incident. However, details of his injuries or his condition are still unknown.
Following the incident, residents of Orange Walk town converged at the hospital entrance, where video footage shows them hurling stones and bottles at the hospital while expressing their discontent at the police officers. In return, the officers could be heard firing gunshots at the gathering, presumably to break up the protest, prompting residents to dive for cover.
According to an official police report, just after 7:30 p.m. on Monday, the Quick Response Team(QRT) were patrolling the Belize Corozal Road when their attention was drawn to a motorcycle and its two occupants exiting from a known drug base.
The officers said that they began following the motorcycle and saw what appeared to be a black object resembling a firearm stuck in the passenger's pants' waist. The officers said that they put on their police lights and siren and attempted to stop the cycle; however, the occupants refused. This resulted in a high-speed chase on Belize Corozal Road.
According to the officers, that chase came to a stop in front of the Trial Farm Gas Station when the officers drove up beside the motorcycle. The officers alleged that the motorcycle driver lost control and slammed into the left front fender of the police mobile, causing the cycle occupants to fall to the ground.
The officers alleged that shortly before the accident, one of the persons on the motorcycle was seen throwing an object into some bushes. They say that when they went back to the area, they located a 9mm pistol.
Since the incident, family members have come out to refute police’s version of the incident, saying that the boys were exiting their grandmother's yard when the police spotted them.
As for the “black object resembling a firearm,” the family says that it was a waist bag that the teenagers use to store their money since they are delivery guys.
The family is also questioning how the boys managed to crash into the front of the vehicle. They alleged that the officers had beaten the young men after the crash.
The family maintains that the teenagers had fled due to concerns for their safety.
The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, is expected to host a press conference shortly to address the incident.
In March this year, another teen, Deandre Chee, was fatally shot and killed by the same members of the QRT during a high-speed chase through Orange Walk Town.