American Expat Clifford Kirk Dies; Charges to be Upgraded to Murder for 3 Accused
Five days after he was shot to the head in a home invasion, American expat Clifford Kirk, died this morning in a Baltimore hospital in the United States. Kirk and his wife had been coming to Belize since the 1980’s and years ago they settled in Ambergris Caye. Last week Thursday, a group of armed men pounced on the elderly couple and made away on jet skis with firearms and cash. Police moved quickly to arrest three men. On Monday, the trio was arraigned for attempted murder, but since his demise, murder charges are expected to be pinned on them. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
There is more bad news for a trio of San Pedranos arraigned on Monday for the home invasion ten miles north of the island town at an area known as ‘Casa las Brisa.’ During that aggravated burglary, American national Clifford Kirk was shot to the head before two firearms and a briefcase with an undisclosed amount of money was handed over to the robbers, who got away on jet skis. Well tonight, we can confirm that the charges of attempted murder will be upgraded to murder because Kirk passed away today in the U.S. Just before two p.m. on Monday, twenty-two-year-old Christian Espat, twenty-five-year-old Nigel Williams and a sixteen-year-old minor were slapped with charges for the crime.
Supt. Reymundo Reyes, Coastal Executive Officer [File: July 9th, 2018]
“Several persons were detained and questioned and as a result of that, it has led to the arrest of three individuals, two adults and a minor, who will be arraigned this morning at the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court for attempt murder, aggravated assault and robbery.”
ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City
“Based on the investigation that was conducted, these persons were seen earlier in the area and as a result police apprehended them shortly after the incident.”
“When they were apprehended, were any of the stolen items found on them?”
ASP Alejandro Cowo
“None of the items that were reported stolen has been recovered.”
A little over twenty-four-hours after Kirk was airlifted to a medical facility in Belize City, around seven-thirty on Friday night, the retired Lieutenant Colonel was transported to the Philip Goldson International Airport and was taken via Medevac to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They arrived after four a.m. on Saturday and he remained in a stable, but critical condition with his wife Linda by his side until this morning when the sixty-year-old expat succumbed to his injuries.
Instrumental in the medical evacuation of Kirk was the Rickilee Response and Rescue team, formed in February 2017 and provides medical support for residents of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. Jodie Harnish, who is a retired trauma nurse, says that they’ve responded to two rescue missions so far, but Kirk’s tragedy was a first.
Jodie Harnish, Team Member, Rickilee Response and Rescue
“We raised sixteen thousand dollars and one hundred percent goes back into donations to our medical response teams on the island; that’s mainly for water rescues. We have tour guide operators association and they are heavily involved as well as Mayor Danny Guerrero. We’ve brought in equipment and laid out the island so that wherever somebody disappears or has a problem it is gridded so they know exactly where to dispatch somebody so we can get to them quickly cause we know seconds and minutes count when it is something like this. So when we heard about Mister Cliff Kirk, very sadly we wanted to very help the best we can because we are trying to expand Rickilee where it is not just water but we can help others also in transportation and we know it is crucial to be able to get people back to the United States for a higher level of care.”