A brazen, mid-morning robbery took place at the Scotiabank Branch in Belmopan when numerous customers were conducting business. It happened like this. The robber, who is well known to the law, stood dutifully in line. As soon as the customer in front of him had handed over a deposit of thousands of dollars to the teller, he pounced on the money and fled the bank. Cannon Obispo, however, did not get too far and was stopped in his tracks by a police officer. And that’s when he pulled out a machete and the police responded with gunfire. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was at the scene of the robbery and has this report.  

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A daring attack on a police officer responding to a robbery this morning in Belmopan has resulted in a Teakettle resident being shot in self-defense.  Sometime around ten o’clock, twenty-six-year-old Cannon Obispo entered Scotiabank on Constitution Drive, where he proceeded to lift over six thousand dollars in various denominations.

Cannon Obispo

Supt. Howell Gillette, O.C., Belmopan Police Sub-formation

“Shortly before ten this morning we received a call that someone had been robbed at Scotiabank.  Prior to, before we reached the location, an on duty police officer was nearby and the matter was reported to him and he pursued the guy.”

That pursuit ended here, near the corners of Slim and Power lanes, in the vicinity of Print Belize Ltd. and the Ministry of Works compound.  What you’re seeing is the processing of the scene, where the lone responding officer fired as many as three rounds at Obispo.

Supt. Howell Gillette

“He went on the opposite side near Ministry of Works where he encountered the guy.  The man had a machete with him and police engaged this person and he was shot in the abdomen and in the left leg.  What he did prior to that was that he allegedly went to Scotiabank, a customer was depositing some money and he grabbed that money from the counter where the customer was depositing and ran.”

News Five understands that the teller was alerted by the clanging of a metal object as it fell to the floor.  This, presumably, was the sound of the machete as it slipped out of Obispo’s pants leg.

Supt. Howell Gillette

Howell Gillette

“The suspect had the machete on him but it wasn’t exposed.  Some point after the robbery, when he was running he took out the machete and had it with him, especially upon seeing the police on the other side awaiting him.  He walked up to the police with the machete and police fired three shots, injuring him in the abdomen and the left leg.  He’s at the Western Regional Hospital seeking medical attention also.”

It is unclear at this point whether Obispo had targeted an Indian variety store moments before pulling off the heist inside the bank.  The proprietor of Classic told News Five off-the-record that an employee of his was working inside the store when Obispo reportedly entered and requested several articles of clothing.  Upon returning with the items, Obispo allegedly snatched the bag from the shopkeeper and made off on foot across the street, where he entered Scotiabank.

Supt. Howell Gillette

“Prior to going to Scotiabank to do the robbery, he allegedly robbed an Indian store nearby to Scotiabank.  So far, we have investigators on that scene also and we are investigating it.”

Obispo’s run-ins with the law dates back to October 2009, when he entered the home of an elderly couple in Freetown Sibun.  Aside from burglarizing the residence, he was accused of raping the woman in the presence of her husband.  In July of last year, Obispo was acquitted of the charges following a nolle prosequi.

Supt. Howell Gillette

“He is known to the police and I won’t get into the details of it but I can tell you that he is known to the police.”

Obispo remains under police guard at the Western Regional Hospital where he is listed in critical but stable condition. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Back in March 2010, the Bank of Nova Scotia in Spanish Lookout was robbed of over two hundred thousand dollars in cash and an additional four thousand dollars in U.S. currency. In that robbery, a KBH Security guard, thirty-two year old Steven Lopez of Unitedville Village, was murdered.

Channel 5