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#376911 - 05/14/10 09:08 AM Basketball Star Aubrey Lopez Killed
Marty Offline
To lead off our headline story, it would be enough to say, "Someone killed the Mayor of Belmopan's son last night." But at least in the community of sports fans - Aubrey Lopez was a man unto himself, a name in his own right. And that is why the community was so thoroughly stunned when the news went out this morning that this well known baller, long time teacher and son of a prominent politician had been killed. For those who knew Aubrey Lopez - the way his life ended is both unjust and unexpected. Jules Vasquez reports.

30 year old Aubrey Lopez, he was one of Belize's elite basketball players. A veteran teacher at EP Yorke and a son and a brother to the Lopez family. They gathered at his former school today to absorb the shocking news, in this place where he was most loved. His father is the Mayor of Belmopan City Simeon Lopez. He is rocked by the unexpectedness of this.

Simeon Lopez, Father of Deceased/Mayor of Belmopan City
"Just after midnight last night I was called by a relative of mine a nurse who works at the KHMH. She called and told me about it. He was identified by the Social Security card he had. I said 'oh my goodness!'"

It is the news no father or loved one could take. Aubrey Lopez was found dead at 11:20 last night on Prince Street. He was thrown unto the street after someone shot him in the head inside his car, this Nissan Altima. You can still see the marks of the blood seeping out of the driver's side. After they stole the car and left him dead on the street, the drivers of the vehicle sped off and went on a shooting spree opening fire here in the Queen Charlotte street in the Yarborough area. Police set chase after the car and intercepted it near the Queen's Square market. Five men men were inside; three escaped and two were captured. But who would have been in his car that would have killed him?

Simeon Lopez
"Personally, and this is my own opinion, I think he was lured into that area of Belize City last night."

He left his job at E.P. Yorke High School at 10:00 pm after a staff meeting and some socializing with his fellow teachers. Today at E.P. Yorke his imprints were everywhere. Students in his homeroom wrote reflections about him all across the blackboard. And where that wasn't enough they honored the coach with makeshift murals, while others consoled themselves. His boss was Principal Rodrick Cardinez.

Rodrick Cardinez, Principal EP Yorke
"The first thing that we did this morning is for us to come to terms with his death as a staff. We have a trained councilor on staff and because Aubrey had a homeroom we asked the councilor to be in that homeroom. We try to remain strong for our students because they too were really affected by this senseless murder. I have addressed them over the PA system and have mentioned that should anybody feel the need to be out of class to continue cope with this loss, we will always be there for them."

Aubrey Lopez started teaching at the school in 1999 instructing in wood technology, technical drawing and 4th form math. He also coaches the basketball team.

Rodrick Cardinez
"He was also a homeroom teacher, as a homeroom teacher he was a father to his students. As a matter of fact just this morning one had mentioned that he has lost not only a homeroom teacher but a friend and that he looks forward to come to school every day because he felt motivated when his homeroom teacher would speak to him."

And that how he was for Antonette Alvarez, a graduate who he taught in first form.

Antonette Alvarez, former student
"He was like a father to me. During break time or lunch time i would spend time with him. When I graduated we used to go about together to the games sometimes to the club to have a little fun and almost everywhere I was with him. I was seen as his little daughter, I used to call him my dad."

Natasha James, former student
"I could have never imagined something like this, so shocking. I don't even have words to tell you the truth. This morning I went to see him. But I am telling you, me personally, Natasha James, I will miss him. It is so sad."

The basketball community will also miss him.

Basil Brannon, President of Belize District Basketball Association
"We are really going to miss him. Words cannot explain what I am going through right now. As a friend and also as a colleague on the basketball court, I am going to miss him a lot. Aubrey is a superstar not just on the basketball court but off the basketball court. This guy would come up and talk to you like he had known you for 3, 4 or 5 years when he first met you. This is the type of person he is and he is willing to help. We lost not Aubrey, basketball player, we lost someone deeper and bigger than that. Its really ridiculous what is going on here right now."

That is the common sentiment among those we spoke to: outraged at this inexplicable loss.

Simeon Lopez
"Well I am a bit angry and a bit moved considering the state in which our country has reached. As leaders in this community we need to do something. People keep saying this over and over, but nothing is being done. It's tough."

Natasha James
"Someone like Aubrey, what could he do to someone for them to do him something like this? All I can say is that those young boys out there don't have a heart. I think the ones that are killing every minute they need to find the right place for them. And do you know what their place is? Right under the ground. The same place Aubrey is going they need to go to."

Simeon Lopez
"This is not going to work. It's going to happen over and over. My only hope is that this could stop. We cannot bring back Aubrey to life, that is gone, we will just have to bear and overcome it. I know we will pull through, but for now it hurts. It does hurt and we want to see it stop. It makes no sense for people to go through this."

The post mortem confirmed that he received a single shot to the head but died from strangulation on his own blood. The vehicle was not registered to him, but to a friend; he was driving it, however. When police found the men in the car near the Queen's Square market one of the men was reportedly hiding under the bridge. He and the other man who were captured are detained pending charges, while police search for three others.

Lopez was married and the father of an 8 year old son, Jaden. Funeral services have been tentatively set for 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday in Belmopan.

And to briefly outline his stellar basketball career, Lopez represented Belize internationally from his early teens, playing on junior and senior national selections in a number of international tournaments. He started playing in the semi pro basketball league in the two-thousand's where he won a championship with the Raiders. He was a standout player throughout his career right up to this year's senior basketball "Ballin 4 Life" Tournament in which he was the captain for the Belmopan Bandits, currently the league leader Tournament standings. In four games this season he averaged 23 and a half points, six rebounds, four steals and 2.3 assists.

Channel 7

#376912 - 05/14/10 09:09 AM Re: Basketball Star Aubrey Lopez Killed [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


The Lopez family is standing strong in their faith, now more than ever to carry them through the loss of son and brother, Audrey Dwight Lopez who was shot and killed last night. His father, Belmopan Mayor Simeon Lopez, was in Belize City along with family members to find out what had happened. Police were called to Prince Street around 11:30 p.m. Lopez’s sister, Sharlene Jones told us what police had gathered so far this morning.

Sharlene Jones; Sister

“They responded to a report of a gunshot in the Prince Street area and upon arrival they saw my brother’s body on the street out there.  They also mentioned that they got calls that they saw a vehicle fleeing the scene; they got the description of the vehicles and officers were able to set chase and they caught up with the vehicle somewhere in Kraal Road and observed four people fleeing the scene.  There were only two police officers who were on the scene and they saw four people fleeing, one was still in the car so they managed to hold the one in the car and the other one pursued and was able to catch up with one of the others who were fleeing but unfortunately because there was only two of them, three people escaped.  They may answers to many questions that we have right now.”

Dalila Ical, Reporter

Do you happen to know where your brother was shot and how many times?

Sharlene Jones

“From what I understand from the police it’s a single gunshot wound behind the left ear."

Dalila Ical, Reporter

Could you tell us if you know if Aubrey was in any particular compromising situation with any bad influences, did he say anything?

Sharlene Jones

“Nothing, nothing which is why I am saying we have many more questions than answers.”

Aubrey Lopez was a teacher at Edward P. York High School and was last seen there late last night, said School Principal Rodrick Cardenas, who received the news after two this morning.

Roderick Cardinez; Principal, E. P Yorke High School

“When I had left here after six he was here, the clerical staff would normally leave a little bit later, he was along with them.  Along with him there were about three, it’s not something he normally does. I understand he left here I guess about minutes to ten thereabouts.”

The vehicle police pursued was a light blue Nissan Altima car with license plate C-34741. It is believed Lopez was killed inside the car and later thrown out on Prince Street. Family members and even Lopez’s colleagues at the high school do not remember him as a troublesome individual.

Rodrick Cardenas

"Never, and I have never seen anyone of any questionable character would come to look for him on the compound.  We have never had that situation as far as I am aware.  He is an athlete so he would also socialize with other athletes and other individuals out ther in the public.”

And the news has not only settled heavily on his family, but also shocked his extended family at school.

Rodrick Cardenas

“This morning all of us were devastated by this loss because as I mentioned Mr. Lopez is a jovial person. At first the students were silent that was their way of dealing with it and then about an hour later they began to interact, they began to talk and after break, so it was after 0 hey were coping with it a little better.”

Police are still on an intensive investigation into this latest murder and have recovered a point 38 revolver, Smith and Wesson Brand and detained two persons.

Sharlene Jones

“Thanks to the person who call and gave the tip about the car and the description that allowed the police to catch up with at least two suspects.”

The atmosphere at the high school was somber this morning. Students in 1R had even refused to erase the black board on which Lopez had written his last lesson yesterday and wrote their goodbyes and messages for their beloved teacher.

Sharlene Jones

“God is the head of our household so we will lean on him during this time and he will get us through.”

Simeon Lopez; Father

“Happy go lucky. He was only thirty years old.”

Police are still looking for three more persons in connection to the incident. When we called Police Press Officer Fitzroy Yearwood this evening, he told us that, in the meantime, the department is not releasing any more details of their investigation so as not to jeopardize the outcome of the case.


#376913 - 05/14/10 09:09 AM Re: Basketball Star Aubrey Lopez Killed [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Teacher/son of Belmopan Mayor murdered

Aubrey Lopez

Aubrey Lopez

The undeterred murder rampage on Belize City streets hit home for one politician whose family tonight is coping with the loss of their son. The shocking news spread early this morning that thirty year old Aubrey Lopez, the son of Belmopan Mayor, Simeon Lopez, was gunned down execution style on Wednesday night inside a car he borrowed. The murder occurred on Prince Street and the incident still has cops baffled over the motive of the latest homicide victim who most people agree was a decent young teacher and basketball player. News Five’s Marion Ali has the details.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The flag flew at half mast and there was a sombre mood at an otherwise lively E P Yorke High School today as the faculty, staff and students grieve the murder of one of their teachers. The appalling killing of thirty year old Aubrey Lopez sometime after eleven on Wednesday night has left a numb feeling for his family, friends and students. Lopez had just borrowed this light blue Nissan Altima car from a female friend and had gone back to school to hang out with fellow teachers. But something went awfully wrong between the time he left the compound at around eleven pm, and the time his body was discovered on Prince Street half an hour later. When the blue car was later intercepted near the Queen’s Square Market police reportedly found blood stains and a point 38 Smith and Wesson brand revolver inside.

lopez 2Residents of Prince Street called to report that they heard a muffled shot and then saw the light blue Nissan Altima speed off. When cops arrived, they discovered Lopez’ body lying face down with a gunshot wound to the left side of the head. The blood in the middle of Prince Street today was all that was left from the harrowing incident. News Five understands that when police intercepted a light blue Nissan Altima near the Queen Square Market shortly before midnight, three of its occupants jumped out, one of whom allegedly tried to shoot off a pump action shotgun at police while fleeing, but the weapon jammed. Two others who chose to remain inside the car were taken into custody. While it is expected they will be charged with the murder by Friday, it is little comfort for Belmopan Mayor, Simeon Lopez and his family.

simeon lopez

simeon lopez

Mayor Simeon Lopez, Father of Murder Victim

“My family is devastated right now. He has an older brother in the states and he is devastated as well. There some blood stains on the driver’s side of the car, the car is now impounded and the police say they have two suspects. Three of them managed to get away so obviously the car was loaded with other guys.”

Marion Ali

“This was his car though?”

Mayor Simeon Lopez

“No this was a car that was loaned to him. He was a teacher here and also a basketball player with the Balling for Life programme, having a team in Belmopan in the tournament, a team that has been doing pretty good.”

His principal and fellow teachers were the last ones to see him alive just before his killers intercepted his vehicle.

Roderick Cardinez, Principal, EP Yorke

roderick cardinez

roderick cardinez

“We had a staff meeting immediately after dismissal. After that time, he went out and then he came back and he was in the staff room sitting around and when I left it was then that I observed he was speaking with the clerical office staff.”

As if written by fate, these were the last day’s notes that Lopez left on the chalkboard for his second form technical drawing students – the only physical reminder of the role he played in their lives. And in appreciation for that, the students scripted their names on these drawings that they left along with a bunch of red bells and a picture of him at the school’s office entrance. For many of them, Lopez was more than a teacher.

Alexis Ramirez, Student, EP Yorke

“When I heard it from some of the teachers I just began to cry because he was my teacher but he was my best friend as well cause he always encouraged me to do good in sports, in class and he always told me that I reminded him of himself in his youth. And he was proud of me that I wanted to be like him when I get older because we are alike.”

lopez 1Marion Ali

“How was it for you – most people your age would normally have a best friend their age as well, but you found a best friend in your teacher.”

Alexis Ramirez

“Yes, although he was a teacher he got down to our levels and we talked like we dah friends from the neighbourhood, ih talk like ih trust we and we trust ah and we could tell he anything and he tell we anything and besides my best friend he was like a father figure to me.”

Christie Petillo, Student, EP Yorke

“I’m on suspension now and I needed to bring my parents but none of them didn’t want to guide me but I asked Mr Lopez and he said if he could he was going to guide me. That’s why I loved him. And ih always tell me make sure I stay I stay in school and he wants to see me graduate. But now that he’s dead I will still graduate so he can be happy for me and I will show him that I am a good girl and stay in school and don’t give any more trouble.”

Asher Canto, Student, EP Yorkelopez 4

“He basically showed me that I had skills in technical drawing and he taught me the basics and now in second form I’m doing so good in technical drawing so it’s a real hard loss for me.”

As Mayor Lopez temporarily puts aside his political duties to deal with his loss, he joins other frustrated parents of victims and candidly told us that the system is lax.

Mayor Simeon Lopez

“We gotta do a lotta enforcement Marion. The laws are there, we need to do a lot of enforcement. Our criminals or the people who the police charge always get off because of the fact of some technicality. The police might need to equip itself with qualified attorneys to be able to go against these other attorneys who are defending these criminals and getting away with it. Once they are convicted man do what you have to do. I will watch and see now that we’ll sharply be moving from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice and see if that will make any difference in carrying out the sentences.”

While police are expected to charge the two men in their custody, the search continues for the other three who escaped the vehicle on Wednesday night. Reporting for News Five I am Marion Ali.

The family is preparing now to lay to rest Aubrey Lopez.

Channel 5

#376949 - 05/14/10 12:58 PM Re: Basketball Star Aubrey Lopez Killed [Re: Marty]
Peter Jones Offline
This sort of thing started to happen near Cape Town when I lived there years ago. It started a mass exodus of people who were economically able to leave, and served as a major disincentive to potential visitors.

Foreigners don't make the distinction we do between Belize City and the rest of the country. They see this sort of thing going on, and be sure that they do read about it, and they immediately strike Belize from their list of "to visit" places. From so many points of view this is extremely serious.

#377322 - 05/18/10 09:14 AM Re: Basketball Star Aubrey Lopez Killed [Re: Peter Jones]
Marty Offline

Paul Jex charged for murder of Aubrey Lopez

Paul Jex

Paul Jex

The brutal murder of basketball player and teacher, Aubrey Lopez, left the country in disbelief that someone considered to be a model citizen would meet such a tragic death. Police have detained two suspects since the incident on May twelfth, and today one of them, twenty-two year old Paul Jex, was read a single charge of Murder in Magistrates’ Court. Lopez had just left Edward P. Yorke School where he taught and was driving a borrowed vehicle, when it was high jacked by a group of armed men who ordered him to drive to Prince Street. The assailants, who allegedly wanted the vehicle to carry out a hit on someone else, shot Lopez, threw him out of the vehicle and sped off. When police intercepted the car, all but two of the men inside managed to escape. Jex was one of the two that remained behind and was detained. Jex has been remanded until June twenty-third, but his brother Elton, feels that there was not proper investigation and that the charge is the result of a personal vendetta that police have against their family.

Elton Jex, Brother of Accused Murderer



“The reason why I’m saying that the charges against my brother are bogus is because at the time when this incident happened, my brother wasn’t even in the crime scene area. Apparently the police they get lead where the vehicle that they said committed the crime, the police they get some lead that the vehicle was on some street. Unfortunately, my brother was on the boulevard waiting for a taxi and he saw the same vehicle and he happens to know the driver of the same vehicle and the driver asked him if he wants a ride. He told me that he did take the ride with the driver and as soon as he get in the vehicle, that’s when the police hauled up behind the vehicle flashing their lights. So he didn’t know what was going on so he stayed in the vehicle. The other guys who were in the vehicle, they run out of the vehicle and escaped. He said the reason why he didn’t run was because he knew he didn’t do anything and because he didn’t run, the police they grabbed him and they badly beat him up. That’s another thing; they beat him up. His eyes, his face, his back is all swelled up. I am saying that the charges are bogus because the police have something personal against the Jex family from last year when it was alleged that they had something to do with my nephew’s death. I don’t know if you remember Kevin Francis Jex. Well, at the time if you could recall, I was making some allegations against the police.”

“I am upset because this is personal, like I said over and over. This is personal and this is not right what they are doing to the Jex family. They don’t even solve my nephew death from since last year but now dehn wah turn around and pin a murder on my brother. And I am disappointed. I am disappointed in the Police Department, I am disappointed in the Minister of National Security and when I say disappointed in the Minister of National Security it’s because many times people complain about police brutality and they seem to sit on their bottoms and don’t even try to do anything to try to stamp out these corrupted officers in the police department. And also I am disappointed in the PM for not doing anything. All of them are sitting on their bottoms and people are getting abused by the police department when they are supposed to protect us.”

In court Paul showed the magistrate his injuries and told her that after he was allegedly beaten, the police never took him to the hospital.

Channel 5


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