Man Says He Was Shot By Police For No Reason
Yesterday morning - law enforcement shot a man on northern Ambergris Caye.
According to the San Pedro Sun, the Belize Special Assignment Group was on an operation to clear the area of a group of, quote, "about 10 armed individuals terrorizing North Ambergris Caye residents."
That led them to a group of three men who were staying at a home 9 miles north of San Pedro.
The Sun reports that one of the men charged at the law enforcement group with a machete. And, in response one of the members of the patrol fired at the individual - hitting him in the leg.
Steven Bowen Jr. got that shot and today he told us why it was unjustified. Bowen says he and his friends had been in the area for a few days visiting with an old man, and fishing. They were about to leave when the patrol found them. He gives us his account of what happened next:
Steven Bowen Jr. - Shot by Law Enforcement (Via Telephone)
"We went to get our bags. This is an open area, one house on the beach, and no bushes or anything like that. Everybody can pass and see us. I was packing my bag, and I got an instinct to bend down and pick up a fallen cup. When I did that, a big amount of gunshots were fired at me. I saw the bag tearing up, sand flying from the ground, and I heard like 100 shots. All I could do was to fall on the ground lay down flat with my 2 arms up, and beg saying that I surrender. I told them I didn't have anything. I had on a cap, and one of them told me to take it off. When I reached to take off the cap - they already stopped shooting - when I took it off, I heard another gunshot, and I felt a pinch in side. the man shot me in my left leg."
"With what were these shots fired?"
Steven Bowen Jr.
"When I looked up, all of them had M-16 or M-4 rifles. After they shot me on the ground, they went for the 2 guys, and they started to beat them up. They kept asking where the gun was, and we told them we didn't have anything. We only use our machetes to cut coconuts. In the process of them taking us to the building, they were brutalizing us. They threatened to kill us."
"Is this before or after you were shot?"
Steven Bowen Jr.
"This is after I got shot."
"So at this time you are suffering from a gunshot."
"Yes, I was suffering from a gunshot wound to the left leg, and I pulled myself out to the front beach, and they put us together. I saw them put a gun into one of the young men's mouth, and told him that they should just kill him right now. He told them to do it because he didn't have anything to hide or run from. I never knew that the beach is not a public area that if the BDF or Coast Guard catch you, they will kill you."
Bowen - a boat captain and tour guide is under police guard at the KHMH. He does not dispute that police found them with three separate amounts of drugs, all amounting to 159.1 grams of marijuana.
The tow men detained are 22 year old Elias Hernandez of a San Martin area of Belmopan City and 22 year old Lucio Salazar of San Juan area of San Pedro Town. The Sun reports that all three will be charged by San Pedro Police on drug and assault related charges.