The Orange Walk community is reeling from the murder of twenty-year-old Dwayne Avila-Cummings. The young UB student and promising basketball player was executed in the wee hours of Sunday. He had just left the Orange Walk Multipurpose Complex en route to his home at San Lorenzo Housing Site when he was gunned down. His body was found on a feeder road, off San Lorenzo Road, with a single gunshot wound to the head. His execution has everyone perplexed because Cummings is not known to the law. Today, News Five’s Hipolito Novelo was in Orange Walk Town seeking answers.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
The body of twenty-year-old Dwayne Avila-Cummings was discovered at around twelve-twenty on Sunday morning along this stretch of dirt road off San Lorenzo Road, Orange Walk. Residents of the area heard gunshots go off before the shocking discovery was made. Police say that Cummings received a single gunshot wound in the head. Police notified the family a few minutes after.
Deja Lopez, Sister of Deceased
“I didn’t believe it. I said no, it’s not my brother. I asked him if it was an accident. He said no, gunshot. I said no, it’s not him because no one would ever shoot my little brother. So he said yes, show me a picture. So we showed police a picture and he said, yes it was him.”
Before his untimely demise, Cummings was at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex where the Orange Walk Running Rebels- a basketball team that he formed part of, played. He left the complex sometime after eleven o’clock on Saturday night. Investigators say he left alone and on foot. The area where his body was discovered is extremely dark at night. His family is trying to figure out who wanted him dead and why.
“My little brother has ‘beef’ with no one. He is the most loving person I know. He was always smiling. I don’t know why.”
Raheem Cummings, Cousin of Deceased
“Everybody knows Dwayne as a cool guy. Dwayne was always smiling and friendly with everyone so I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt him.”
“He didn’t seem uneasy or something weird about him?”
“Only thing is that he was kind of frustrated about was the basketball games and he wasn’t happy about his performance. Just the sport because he really takes basketball as a passion. So lately he was kind of frustrated about his play and the team. That was the only thing I can say. The reports that we got are that he left alone. People are saying that he gets drop but he just put on his earphones and started walking home. Maybe because of the frustration he just wanted alone time.”
“Would he usually walk that area?”
“No, he usually borrows my mom’s vehicle or gets a drop. I don’t know what happened this time. He doesn’t usually walk by himself like that.”
“What do you believe was the motive?”
“I can’t say. I can’t say. I can’t see why anyone would want to hurt him. No idea.”
“Do you believe it is a case of mistaken identity?”
“Everyone knows Dwayne in Orange Walk, I don’t think they were mistaken.”
Cummings was reportedly found with his headphones on and his personal belongings. While investigators have ruled out robbery as the possible motive, persons of interest are in police detention.
ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch
“At this point in time we are still trying to establish a motive in relation to that. Police have detained two persons. We are looking at several surveillance footages while we continue to look for witnesses. We had also detained several persons where their vehicles were impounded and those vehicles were processed. We are in close communication with the family and we have dispatched additional investigators on the ground in order to try and come to a conclusion in relation to this case and bring those responsible to justice.”
And to the killer or killers, the Cummings’ family had this to say:
“He just didn’t only take away another person. He is not just another statistic like we have in Belize. He really hit a soft spot with this one, man. Dwayne, as you can see, was loved by the entire community. It is so sad. It really hurt us. It really hurt us a lot.”
“Honestly I just want to know who did it and why because my little brother was so innocent. To me, god will be the one who will deal with everything and I just hope that we find out. I don’t wish that person any bad. God will handle him.”
Belize City Councillor Micah Goodin has offered a one thousand dollars reward for information leading to an arrest of the culprit.
The Star Athlete: Dwayne Cummings
Dwayne Cummings is the second UB student to be murdered in less than five days. He was a business student at the University of Belize. A statement from UB’s President Professor Clement Sankat reads, quote, Dwayne was a well-loved, out-going and an exceptional student-athlete at the University of Belize. He played basketball for the UB Jaguars and was pursuing an Associate in Business, unquote. UB’s Head coach, Darren Bovell, said that even though Cummings was a star athlete on UB’s Jaguars Basketball team – very skilled, very tenacious, he was one of the humblest, shy and soft-spoken players he had ever coached. Professor Sankat says that these senseless killings must stop as it is destroying the fabric of society, especially promising young students. Joining the university is Muffles College High School. In a statement, the school said that Cummings was an outstanding student-athlete at Muffles College, he led his team to rejoice in many victories and was the recipient of the Eloy Avila Athlete of the Year award at graduation in 2014. He remained an active friend of Muffles College by assisting in the coaching of its varsity teams. The school says that Cummings’ ‘untimely death is a tragic reminder that as a country we are failing our young people.’ Cummings recently joined the National Sports Council as the Administrative Officer in Orange Walk Sports. Tonight, we take a look at the life of Dwayne Cummings, the star athlete.
Hipolito Novelo Reporting
On Sunday night, family, friends, and members of the sporting community in Orange Walk gathered at the San Lorenzo Housing Site to pay homage to the slain young basketball player, Dwayne Avila-Cummings. Cummings was executed early on Sunday morning as he made his way home. His body was found off the San Lorenzo Road, with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Raul Rosado, Manager, Orange Walk Running Rebels
“I was shocked. I could not believe it. He was not someone who was involved in any type of activities. He tries to do the right things and he was guided by his family. They have a lot of influence on his life and in trying to mould him the right. He was on that path so it was very disturbing and very shocking.”
Roger Reneau, Team Captain, Orange Walk Running Rebels
“At first honestly it felt like it was a dream. You pinch yourself, thinking that you would wake up and it was a joke, thinking that someone is playing around but it was hard to believe. It was heartbreaking.”
From all accounts, Cummings was loved in Orange Walk for his vibrant and caring personality. He was an up and coming basketball player. On July thirty-first, 2017, Cummings gave this interview to Councillor Ladrick Sheppard.
Ladrick Sheppard, Councillor, Orange Walk Town [Date: July 31st, 2017]
“Tell us about this opening night basketball tournament in the senior division. Tell us how your team performed tonight.”
Dwayne Cummings, Deceased [Date: July 31st, 2017]
“We started off well. In a couple quarters we were down but we managed to get back up.
“What is the name of this team? And tell us how this team was put together.”
“The name of our team is Monsters. We broke up, we were supposed to play with one love but we asked Roman to join his team but our name is Monsters.”
“There are five teams for the competition, tell us how your team will perform later on.”
“I hope we perform well. We came up on a big victory tonight and I hope we manage to keep it up.”
“Overall, do you think that this is something great for basketball in Orange Walk?”
“Well yes because everyone is looking out for this season.”
“Last question Dwayne, who do you like to thank for this great victory today?”
“Well I like to thank my stepfather. He trained us and coached us. Thanks to my mom. She is always there for us and to everyone else who support us.”
Cummings went on to join the Orange Walk Running Rebels and had been advancing his skills and techniques. Manager and C.E.O. of the Orange Walk Running Rebels Raul Rosado describes Cummings as a ‘humble and respectable young man’.
“He joined the NEBL team, two seasons now. He was the runner up for the rookie of the year last year. He is a by extension part of the Rebels basketball organization because he plays in the other categories due to his age and youth. For the Orange Walk Running Rebels Elite team he was a crucial part of the organization and the team because he was an upcoming and coming start, a local star. He had a bright future when it came to basketball.”
Team Captain, Roger Reneau says that the beloved basketball player showed commitment and discipline for the sport.
“Dwayne was defiantly was one of our best player in Orange Walk. He works hard both on and off the court. He is a very humble person. If you see Dwayne he is always smiling and if you are around him he makes you smile. He brings the happiness to the team and he brings dedication and hard work to the team as well.”
Cummings’ charming personality was felt off the court as well. His sister Deja Lopez recounts the last conversation she had with him.
Deja Lopez, Sister of Deceased
“I was with him the Saturday morning before he left. He slept outside and we were talking. My little niece asked ‘who ate my biscuit?’ I said it can only be Dwayne. Only he likes to eat people thing. I asked him if it was him and he said that of course it was him, who else would do that? So we started to laugh and that is how it stayed. That was the last conversation me and my brother had.”