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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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A chain of events early Saturday morning led to the police detention of Belize City's deputy mayor after the rear window of his SUV was shattered by gunshots.

Deputy Micah Goodin was with his crew when they had a misunderstanding which escalated into a shootout that injured one person - and Goodin was in the middle of it all.

Tonight, one of his buddies is on jail on remand, as is the man who allegedly shot the deputy's vehicle.

Goodin escaped charges, but as the man who holds the second highest office in the municipality, he can't escape scrutiny that easily - and tonight there are pressing questions about whether he was afforded special treatment due to his political connect. Courtney Menzies has the whole story from the police department to city hall:

Gunshots on Newton Barracks in the early hours of Saturday morning left residents of the area concerned - but perhaps what was most shocking was that Belize City's deputy mayor was involved.

Micah Goodin was with two friends when an altercation started between them and another group. It was while Goodin's group was leaving that 5 or more shots were fired and one person was injured.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"The police investigation revealed that there may have been some altercation or misunderstanding between two group of person who were socialising at this establishment and during the event, Micah Goodin may have intervened to quell the dispute between the parties and he got into his vehicle along with two other persons and drove off. While driving off, one of the occupants of Micah Goodin's vehicle fired several shots and one of the persons with whom they had misunderstanding returned fire to Micah Goodin's vehicle, causing four bullet holes and one person who was inside the vehicle got a bullet graze to the neck. That person was transported to the KHMH where he was treated and subsequently released. Police have since detained Micah Goodin, Tarique James, and Kenyon Tillett. Tillett is a traffic warden, Tarique James is an employee of the Belize City Council, and as you have rightly said, Micah Goodin being the Belize City Council's Deputy Mayor, they were detained for the investigation of that particular incident until police could have ascertained what exactly transpired. At the end of the investigation, Tillett was charged for aggravated assault, wounding, and discharging firearm in public. Tarique James was charged for discharging firearm in public. The investigation did not reveal that Micah Goodin was involved in the shooting incident and so he was released after 36 hours in custody."

And while he was released - 20 year old shadow councillor Tae Medina was grazed by a gunshot and two other men are in jail tonight. They are Goodin's frequent companion Tarique James - seen here in the the paisley button down shirt - who is a 25 year old employee of the LIU Community Clean-up Program, and Kenyon Tillett, the bearded individual who is a Transport Officer - the man Goodin's crew had the misunderstanding with. And while these working men are in jail - the gun licenses for all three men may be revoked.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I have since directed the police to take away all firearms from the three individuals who are in possession of license firearms. The firearms will be sent to the forensic lab for ballistic purposes as we still need to ascertain if all three guns were fired or only two were fired. I have also directed OC CIB to submit to my office a report of the incident and I am going to write all three license holders to show reasons why their firearm license should not be revoked. I want to say this. That every licensed firearm holder must bear in mind that having a firearm is a privilege. And it comes with a heavy responsibility. Going to a nightclub or a bar and drink and having a firearm on your person is an offence and it goes squarely against what is expected of a license firearm holder. And so if it is that there is any evidence to suggest that these persons were consuming alcohol and they had their weapons on them, that should be sufficient grounds to have their license revoked and once that is the case, I certainly will ensure that their license is revoked."

But while the ComPol is not holding back on the deputy mayor, his statement was inaccurate - reliable sources tell us that Goodin was not held for 36. In fact, he called our news director at 8:22am on Saturday - less than 6 hours after the events unfolded - and received and read a text message from our Director one minute after; detained persons do not have use of their phones.

So did he get special treatment afforded to the political class?

Courtney Menzies:
"Some would say that Micah might have gotten some type of special treatment because if it was a regular gang man or known criminal from the street, they would have been locked up for the whole weekend."

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"No that's not true, he was in custody for a very long time, and if it is that investigation reveal that he is not involved then the law dictates that we keep you in custody no longer than necessary and that was done."

But even though the police department has concluded that Goodin wasn't involved in the shooting, Goodin's boss, Mayor Bernard Wagner, isn't taking chances. He's traveling to Barbados, and while normally that would make Deputy Goodin acting mayor, Wagner has reservations.

In an email to the City Administrator, copied to all councillors, he writes, quote, "Given the circumstances that occurred over the weekend and the uncertainty of the outcome, and moreover given the short term nature of my trip to Barbados, I have decided to retain all duties and responsibilities that fall under my desk." End quote.

But Goodin fired back at the mayor, saying, quote, "Do note that the act clearly states that when you are out of the country I assume duties as Mayor. Therefore I will act in such capacity this week. If you disagree you can make an effort to amend the Belize City Council Act. Also, do note that there is absolutely no uncertainty over the outcome of this weekend as I did not break any laws nor am I being held as a suspect or charged for anything." End quote.

So, tonight it's unclear just who is in charge here at the Hall - but at this time no punitive action has been taken against the Deputy Mayor.

Our newsroom has tried to contact Goodin multiple times, but up to news time, he had not responded.

Two Men Remanded, Deputy Escapes Suspicion

And like you heard the commissioner say, both 28-year-old Kenyon Tillett, a traffic warden, and 25-year-old Tarique James, an employee at the LIU, were charged criminally. Tillett was the first to appear before Magistrate Baha Shoman and he was read charges of one count of aggravated assault upon Micah Goodin, one count of wounding upon Tae Medina, and one count of discharging a firearm in a public place. He was represented by Ronell Gonzales, who was substituting for attorney Dickie Bradley, who could not make it to court.

Tarique James entered the courtroom afterwards with his attorney, Norman Rodriguez and was read a single charge of discharging a firearm in public. Like Tillett, no bail was granted and he was also remanded.

In Tillett's report to the police, he stated that he was trying to defuse an altercation when someone from inside Goodin's vehicle fired shots at him, so he fired back. Goodin's report states that they were being threatened by a group of men who approached Goodin's vehicle in an aggressive manner, prompting James to fire shots into the air preventing the men from attacking Goodin.

Due to the nature of the offences, both men were remanded to prison until July 19th.

Eyewitness Says Police Version Not Correct

But Tillett's family isn't buying the story - in fact, they say that Tillett is being treated unfairly. An eyewitness to the incident - who chose to remain anonymous - gave his version of the events and alluded that both the police department and the stories that have been circulating on social media are biased.

Voice of: Eyewitness
"At the scene, I was a witness to a black Nissan Rogue firing two shots from the back window into our crowd. No one was hit but with quick response, returning firing was let off in their direction, at that moment, the driver of the black Nissan Rogue sped off and from our perspective it seems as though the media has made it seem that it was initiated and aggravated by the person that did the second shots. But I don't understand how the person who was trying to defend himself, defend his family, has been put in a position where he took on four charges and the person that initiated the first shots only got one charge. From our perspective, what the media has put out there has been very biased and very unfair towards Kenyon Tillett and we just watch everyone to know that there is more than one side to the story."

The eyewitness also says that this is a clear case of self defence - and we asked the ComPol about that this morning.

Courtney Menzies:
"Does Mr Tillett have a case for self defence considering that it was the other person who fired towards him first?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"Certainly, he could claim self defence but let me say that Mr Tillett was not forthcoming with investigators and so there is no complaint from him to say that the person from Goodin's vehicle, who is James, had shot at him or pointed a gun at him per se, there is nothing because he was not forthcoming."

Voice of: Eyewitness
"From my perspective, if someone shoots at me, I believe that if you are in a position to do something about it, and you do do something about it, that is self defence. By all means, anyone that was out there and anyone that had the opportunity to see what happened, they would know, including the people that were in the black Nissan Rogue, they would be able to tell you that they were the persons who fired the first shot."

"I think my family and I would agree that Mr Tillett, he's very rational when it comes to situations like this, he's not a person that looks for problems, he is someone that- he would definitely try to calm down the situation before resulting into something in this manner."

Courtney Menzies:
"Right now, what is your family- the next step. Is it just trying to fight this in the court?"

Voice of: Eyewitness
"Well, seeing as though we were refused the right to make reports on the situation, we've decided that I guess we're just waiting until the court date to see what we could do from there on."

There is no indication if the mayor intends to take any disciplinary action against Goodin. In 2019, he had stripped Goodin of his portfolio as a disciplinary measure. But now that he is Deputy with political allies, it's a far more delicate proposition.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Was Micah Goodin Really Detained for 36 Hours?

Speaking on this matter, in his capacity as an attorney representing one of the men involved in the shooting, was OJ Elrington. Contrary to what the Commissioner of Police has stated on record, Elrington says that Micah Goodin was not detained for thirty-six hours. In fact, he says that when he arrived at the Queen Street Police Station around nine a.m. on Saturday, Goodin had already left the precinct.

OJ Elrington, Attorney-at-law

"On this occasion, I actually was retained by the family of Mr. Kenyon Tillett over the weekend, and so I have a firsthand account of what exactly happened, at least according to the police. Myself, along with my senior attorney-at-law, Ms. Sharon Pitts, went to the police station. She was there before me, I got to the police station at a little bit after nine a.m. on Saturday morning. I spoke, we both spoke with the investigating officer at that time. He informed us that Mr. Micah Goodin, according to him, at that time, at best had already been released. Again, there are questions as to whether or not he had ever been detained because numerous accounts from members of the family who are outside the police station said that he had been traversing in and out of the police station. Nobody who is ever detained, you can traverse in and out of the police station as you would like. The investigating officer, when he told us that, I relayed to him, well if it is that you released Mr. Micah Goodin and our client has already given a statement, then could you afford him the same courtesy to allow him to be released. I will give you my personal undertaking as an officer of the law and an attorney that if you wish to charge him, I will return him to the police station for you to charge him. [It] always happens, Mike [Peyrefitte] knows this. The officer said no, he cannot do that because he has to get instructions from his higher-ups before he releases this person. This is beyond him. That is why I found it very disturbing when I heard my friend, I still maintain that he is my friend, my colleague at the bar, and the Commissioner of Police say unequivocally that Mr. Micah Goodin was in police custody for thirty-six hours. He, again, might have been misinformed that Mr. Kenyon Tillett was not forthcoming. Mr. Kenyon Tillett gave a statement to the police. He gave them a statement, a statement is his account of the incident. The police insisted that they wanted to do a further statement. He said, I have already given you my account of the events, there is nothing further I can tell you."

Channel 5

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