Tonight, Corozal Town residents are reeling from a very gruesome display of violence on a very busy, well trafficked street last night. It involved 2 Corozal residents getting into a machete fight where one man was killed after being repeatedly chopped, and police had to shoot the other to subdue him.

29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. and 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr., lived close to each other, but last night, they brawled on the street side as though they had been bitter enemies. It ended in murder and a police shooting, and now, two families are left to fix the damage that has been created by this incident.

Our news team was in Corozal for most of the day, putting together the details and Daniel Ortiz has this report:

The family of 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr. and Mark Massam Jr. found themselves dragged into a simmering dispute today. That's the result of a violent incident between both men which ended with Massam being chopped to death, and Cassanova being shot multiple times by police.

That incident happened last night at around 9 on College Road in Corozal Town. Police happened on a bizarre scene with Cassanova hacking into Massam's body with a bloody machete. They say they tried to disarm him peaceably, but he forced their hand.

Inspector Peter Serrano - Deputy OC, Corozal Police

"On the scene police seen a person inflicting chop wombs on another person. Police shouted to the person to stop and to drop the machete, which her refused. Warning shots were fired and the person continue to inflict chop wombs on the other person who was already on the ground. Subsequently two shots were fired at the person, who was doing the chopping, hitting him on both legs and knee. The person was subdued."

Carlos Cassanova Sr. - Father of the Accused

"A lady come and start to cry. She called my name Carlos and we went out and the lady told me your son just killed a man."

The multiple chop wounds were fatal, and by the time police stopped the attack, Massam had lost digits.

Inspector Peter Serrano

"On the ground lying face down, was another male person. That person could have been seen with multiple chops wombs on the head and the body."

Doris Massam - Sister of the Deceased

"They chopped him in the head, a big hole in his head and neck and he has none of his fingers. He had to succumb to his injuries, he can't live."

But, what would have prompted Cassanova to have such a violent outburst, and why was it aimed at Massam?

Inspector Peter Serrano

"Initial investigation revealed that both Cassanova and Massam sometime around 9, they were both riding on seperate bicycles in a western direction on college road where an argument started and ended with the machete fight. The matter is presently under investigation and at present that Carlos Cassanova is under police guard at one of the medical institutions."

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"I tell my son, let's go home. He said no, he got demons and some man who wants to kill him in Corozal. I don't want to go home he said. Then I asked why? I want you to explain who want to kill you in Corozal, he said I can't tell you that, you are not my father. Then i'm consious that he's not in his correct from the mind."

Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News

"What do you think caused it?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"Well I believe people told he me was passing, stopped on a corner with his friends. Then a pick up reverse, they pushed him and it started."

Mike Rudon

"Has your son displayed any aggressive behaviour?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"No sir."

Doris Massam

"According to the police he was a target. He came out of jail January, he got shot and chopped and nothing come out of it. Well now he's dead so I think they're glad."

Daniel Ortiz

"We know that he has had his trouble with police but do you believe because of that, police didn't treat him at a citizen who deserved justice and who deserved the protection of the law?"

Doris Massam

"Police don't really do their work what they were suppose to do. According to what I heard, the police were on the scene when young boy was chopping my brother. So as they reached they could have stopped it, maybe the matter wouldn't been worse. Could have got a chance to live, but they left him to die."

Daniel Ortiz

"The police are telling us they were trying their best to stop the man without having to shoot him."

Doris Massam

"But if you see someone who doesn't want to stop, what next to do? That's the only next way, they shoot people who are not even doing anything so why didn't they shoot the man as they got on site and they said stop and the man doesn't want to stop."

That same sense of wariness that Massam's family currently has, is echoed by the Cassanova's family. They are afraid of retaliation from Massam's family, friends or associates:

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"When the police brakes me up this side and we going to the hospital and the police man said just go home and rest and go away from your house and some where secure because they will be coming for you. But I don't want trouble anybody. We are people that don't fight and we don't have nothing against them. There friends are my friends too."

Mike Rudon

"Have you been receiving any death threats?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"I will say yes. Last night they came and stone my house with bottles and so forth. I just leave it in god's hands. I am a fare man, I work hard for my money, my wife and sons. I don't want a enemy."

Daniel Ortiz

"They're saying they feel fearful that your family will want to retaliate and they are symapthetic towards you all and they don't condone what there son have son."

Doris Massam

"Retaliation ain't a part of it anymore. Right now all we want is our brother to rest in peace and get it over with. The police are doing their work so I just want them to do their work and justice come out of it.”

Carlos Cassanova Jr. remains under police guard at the KHMH, and as soon as he has recuperated enough from those gunshot injuries, he will be investigated and formally charged with murder. That’s because, as we’ve told you, the police officers who arrived on the scene, caught him in the act of chopping Mark Massam Jr. to death. That visual identification, coupled with the bloody machete that police took from him, may be enough to make a case for murder.

But, what about Cassanova’s mental state when he was caught repeatedly chopping Massam? Well, as you’ve heard his father say, he was having severe mental problems. Carlos Cassanova Sr. told us today that in November, his son left the family’s house in Corozal and was found in a loin cloth in the Cayo District. Police out west became concerned when they caught him heading to the border on a horse.

When his family went to retrieve him, Cassanova Jr. told his father that there were demons who wanted to kill him in Corozal. They spent days in Cayo trying to persuade him to come home but he remained convinced that someone wanted him dead. He then went missing for 11 days and when he re-appeared, the signs of a mental disorder persisted. The family then made a decision to have police come and pick him up and take him to get mental health. He told us that the officers who responded ended up dismissing their request, and so, they bought him medication to try and calm him down. Here’s how his father explained what happened next:

Carlos Cassanova Sr. - Father of the Accused

"Before everything, I told the police to go look for my son. We agreed for them to pick up my son and take him to the hospital because we know he's not correct in his mind. When the police come here, they said your son is alright."

Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News

"Was he receiving any treatment for his mental illness?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"We got some pills."

Daniel Ortiz

"Was it something that you were worried at some point he might have a break and he might do something you can't control?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"I wouldn't believe or think about that because I see my son calm here. At the same time people told me they provoked him, I don't know."

Reporter

"Well how is it that your son ended up with a machete?"

Carlos Cassanova Sr.

"I don't know. They day he came home, the machete and everything I took far from him.”

His family expects that the authorities will administer a medical exam to determine the state of his mental health.

Moving on to Mark Massam Jr., he has had encounters with Corozal police in the past. He was wanted in January of last year after police say that he threw away a gun after being chased by officers. That ended up with him being charged with his second firearm offence.

But, beside his brush with the law, his family says that his two daughters, an 8 year-old and a baby who is less than a year old, are left fatherless.

Channel 7