San Pedro police are have launched an investigation into a shooting at the northern end of Ambergris Caye which left a man from Punta Gorda Town dead.
It's in that zone of Ambergris where persons, referred as "playadors" or beach combers, go looking for cocaine wet drops. That's the illegal activity that police believe 24 year-old Peter Castillo was involved in this morning when he and his 2 companions were spotted. Instead of fleeing, he reportedly shot at the coast guard with a shot gun.
The Coast Guard told us more today:
Commander Elton Bennett - Vice Commandant, Belize National Coast Guard
"As part of the Coast Guard's maritime security strategy focusing on the area of Northern Ambergris Caye Bacalar Chico area and the area of Rocky Point, Coast Guard continues to dominate the area with patrols. We identify this as a geo-strategic location encountering transnational and organized crimes."
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Which is where law Coast Guard Officers encountered this man, who was killed in an armed encounter. The officers say he aggressed them first. That's after his 2 companions fled.
Commander Elton Bennett
"This morning around 10:30 hours the Belize Coast Patrol was located about 800 meters south of the Belize Mexican border in the area of Bacalar Chico where the coast guard identified three armed men approaching the patrol harbor location. The patrol sentry then verbally challenge the three armed men that were approaching the area and instructed them to stop and put down their firearms. Two of the men turned away and escaped whilst the third who was armed with a shotgun, raised his shotgun as though he had intensions of engaging the patrol. One of the member of the patrol then open fire on that individual fatally wounding him. Three shots were fired, one shotgun with 5 cartridges were recovered with one cartridge inside the chamber of the shotgun. The deceased has been identified as Mr. Peter Castillo of Punta Gorda. The patrol commander reported that this individual who got shot, of the three men, he was the one who raised his firearm as though he had intensions of engaging the patrol. It was for this reason that that individual got shot. The other two turned their backs and fled. They fled in the opposition direction away from the patrol and for this reason the patrol did not engage the fleeing men."
It is now in the hands of the police department, and the man, had he survived the encounter, would have been charged with firearm offences, at the least.
Commander Elton Bennett
"San Pedro police was notified and were transported to the area to process the scene. The body of the individual was then transported to Belize City. This is the first time that the Coast Guard has come in contact with this individual. We understand that the police in San Pedro so some reason had some contact with him a few weeks ago."
San Pedro Police have started their own inquiry to ensure that all the facts of the Coast Guard's version of events check out. The San Pedro Sun Newspaper reports that investigators retrieved the dead man's shot gun and cartridges, and the gun of the officer who fired the fatal shot.