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At 5:00 am Saturday morning, San Pedro bar owner, 43 year old, Elvis Raul Polanco and his 25 year old common law wife Thomasa Evelia Velasco Garcia were heading south in a golf cart after buying food in the downtown area of San Pedro. As they turned into the entrance of the Escalante Subdivision area a man with a red shirt over his face fired two shots at them. Polanco jumped off the golf cart and the gunman then ran to Garcia and grabbed her purple purse with $12,000.00 dollars in cash. The gunman then chased after her husband and shot him. Garcia raced off in the golf cart to get help, when she realized she had also been shot on the hand. She returned to the area to find Polanco suffering from four gunshot wounds. She rushed him to the San Pedro Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

When police responded to the scene they found the purse with some of the cash still in it. Police immediately detained a 32 year old police constable from the San Mateo area - who is under interdiction for a domestic incident he was charged for a few months ago - and a 25 year old Laborer from the D.F.C Area - who is an ex-cop. They are held pending charges. The interdicted constable worked as a security guard at Polanco's Jade Bar and would have known that he was carrying cash. Polanco had hired him full time as security since he was on interdiction.

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Elvis Raul Polanco

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Police constable currently under interdiction and ex-cop detained for island businessman's murder

A police constable from the San Mateo area, currently under interdiction for a domestic incident, and a second suspect, an ex-police officer from the DFC area, were detained and pending charges for the shooting death of island businessman 43-year-old Elvis Raul Polanco. One of the suspects, the interdicted cop, worked as a security guard at Polanco's business (Jade Bar) in the DFC area.

The latest report in the investigations indicated that around 5AM, this morning, November 19th, Polanco and his 25-year-old partner Thomasa Evelia Velasco Garcia were returning home in a golf cart after a night out. As they turned into the entrance of the Escalante subdivision, a man with a red shirt over his face holding what appeared to be a gun emerged from the bushes and fired two shots at them. Garcia said Polanco jumped off the golf cart, and the gunman came towards the golf cart and grabbed her purple purse containing $12,000 in cash and other documents. The gunman then went after her common-law husband and heard another gunshot. Garcia said she thought about leaving the area to seek help when she realized she had also been shot. She returned to look for Polanco and found him suffering from four gunshot wounds. Garcia rushed Polanco to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic, where he was pronounced dead at 5:25AM.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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Businessman Killed in San Pedro Robbery, Lawman and Ex Cop Detained

On Saturday morning, San Pedro saw its first murder in over a year, a businessman killed in cold blood in a robbery staged by his security guards - who also happen to have a history as lawmen.

Tonight police have one cop who had been on interdiction, and another ex cop detained as the main suspects.

Cherisse Halsall has the story from San Pedro.

These are some of the last images that Elvis Polanco's family will have of him. The last memories of a loving father and husband, the way he was before tragedy struck.

But these images are now shattered by grief after the proprietor of Jade Bar was gunned down and killed while on his way home from an honest night's work. His sons were too grief-stricken to speak this morning. But his brother Fernando lamented his loss and tried to describe just how hard it's hit this family.

Fernando Polanco, Brother of the deceased
"We are suffering a lot about what happened to my brother and all we want is for our family is justice, for the family to please have the police do something about this because this is really affecting us a lot especially all the friends and family, for example, he has a small daughter just 5 years old crying all around and looking for her father around 1:00 A.M. last night all the, we got together here and that was really hard. They just don't take it into consideration that this really affects and we are asking the people to protect each other for example if they see something we just say what is going on and report it so that we can protect each other here in San Pedro."

Her father and mother, Thomasa Velasco Garcia were heading home at around 5:00 on Saturday morning, with $12,000 dollars cash from their businesses in her purse when a gunman with a red shirt over his head ambushed them - killing Polanco, injuring Garcia and snatching the purse:

Fernando Polanco, Brother of the deceased
"He was with his wife and she tried to get help around but nobody helps her to help my brother when he was still alive and that is something that I want to say because it's something sad here in Belize that somebody is asking for help and she said that a lot of people passed didn't help her."

The main suspects are two security guards he hired at his bar - one a lawman, the other an ex cop:

Chester Williams, Comissioner Of police
"Suspects in this particular incident one is a police officer who is on interdiction and the other is an ex-police officer who has been dismissed months. ago. In respect to the officer who is on interdiction he was hired by the proprietor of that establishment as his security and certainly he is aware of the movements of the proprietor."

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Eastern Division
"One of the persons a search was conducted this is Paul Mortis 22 years and he has been charged for the possession of a licensed firearm and ammunition."

Chester Williams, Comissioner Of police
"All indication is showing that while the interdicted police was working the one who had been dismissed was there with him and they were together and so they may have left together to await the proprietor when he got home and moved in on him. Police investigation so far have led to the discovery of a 9mm pistol at the home of the interdicted police who is a fellow Mortis. That firearm will be packaged and will be sent to the national forensic service for examination to determine ion the expended shells found on the scene of the murder robbery are consistent with it having been fired by the gun that was found canceled in his home."

Fernando Polanco, Brother of the deceased
"My brother hired him to protect him not to do something bad to my brother."

San Pedro saw its last murder over a year ago - and this one comes just as the island is preparing for the tourism high season

And Elvis's death has shaken not just his family members but also friends and former employee Danielle Oliva who describes him as an all around good guy.

Danielle Olivia, Friend & former employee
"He. Gave his life also for his wife and it's an injustice what they did to him because as far as we knew he had no enemies because everybody loves him, everybody had a good relationship with him, he was not a problem person, every time he sees a problem he runs away from it or he says you know what I don't want any problem please just stop it. At the bar he treated everybody very good he was, his customers were well-attended. It's unfair what they did to him and I hope this has justice and the person that did this pays for it."

As for Fernando he can only mourn the man he called his partner in life, a brother with whom he emarked upon the San Pedrano dream 18 years ago when they arrived on the island from Benque seeking a better life.

Fernando Polanco, Brother of the deceased
"My brother we are two he and me, we are the only two brothers from our parents and he just lived near my area, we are very close brothers and we um, stick a lot together most of our lives since we were kids and we helped each other a lot so but he is like. A father to me, more than a father to me because we were poor people and we just came to this island to try to make something in life and this is how, this island for staying like that. I am not accusing the island but there are some bad people that don't see that we just came to have a better life like everybody and that was the plan of me and my brother to be in this island."

As you saw Polanco's wife also received gunshots to her hand. She is stable and recovering but had to travel to Belize City today for surgery.

Police believe that in addition to the unlicensed firearm found in Mortis's home, he also has a licensed firearm that they have not been able to find.

Channel 7


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Murder suspect charged for Possession of Unlicensed firearm

The shooting death of island businessman Elvis Polanco is a daily topic in San Pedro Town as friends and relatives mourn his death. Police detained two suspects, one an interdicted police officer and the other an x-cop, but there have been no charges for the crime. However, one of the suspects, 32-year-old Paul Mortis, was charged and remanded for the Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm. The firearm was found at Mortis' house following Polanco's shooting on Saturday morning, November 19th. According to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the interdicted officer, Mortis, was hired by Polanco to work as a security guard at his business establishment (Jade Bar). "Certainly, he was aware of the movements of the proprietor," said Williams. Police say the firearm will be inspected at the national forensic service to determine if the expended shells found at the murder scene are consistent with this gun.

Mortis is to return to the San Pedro Magistrate Court in January 2023 for the Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm charge. Meanwhile, the ex-cop remains detained, and police continue investigating.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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Murder Shocked San Pedro

We asked Andre Perez about the latest murder in San Pedro - a municipality that has seen its murder rate drop significantly over the last 4 years. The town's previous murder was over a year ago, but on November 19th, businessman Elvis Polanco was robbed and killed as he was heading home.

But while San Pedro's murder rate is still much lower than it was in previous years, is crime picking back up? We asked the area rep for his thoughts.

Andre Perez, Area Rep, Belize Rural South
"The incident last weekend is very unfortunate, it's sad. We know the family, they are a hardworking family. He leaves behind a 3 year old daughter. That puts the community on a spot that says where is community heading, in what direction. What I can say is this is not our community. This incident does not define what our community is all about in terms of violence, so we need to be clear. It is an isolated case. Nonetheless, we're not going to put a blind eye to it and again its the collaboration between the police department giving every single support about it and as well as the council and the leadership that we keep in touch as to these matters. I think that being a community that is tourist oriented, the nightlife is very much vibrant here. I think this highlights issues about controls. After midnight whenever the people are participating in having alcohol consumption after midnight is never going in a way that's going to be productive. So working along with the liquor license committee is important and this morning we spoke on the local radio TV and we said it clear that for now, we're going to take a little recess and avoid giving those extensions. That's important and working with the police department. What we are hearing is some suspects may have been involved, members of the police department. They are dealing with it. It highlights that this is not Ambergris Caye and we have to be careful that we do not show that image there of violence. It is a safe place and we have controls."

Channel 7

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Still No Charges For Island Murder

When San Pedro bar owner Elvis Polanco was killed on November 19 in the island town, police moved quickly to detain two security guards who worked at his jade par. One of them was a cop on interdiction, the other an ex cop. The cop was charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm, but since then no other charges have followed. Police say they can't even find the licensed weapon that the police officer Winfield Mortis had issued to him.

So, after they charged Mortis for an unlicensed weapon allegedly found in his house, they released him and the other suspect.

Today, the Commissioner said they are determined to bring more charges:

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I have just directed this morning that we dispatched a team of major crime to San Pedro to probe more into that matter. We believe that it is solvable and we'll do our best to solve it. In addition to that we have submitted to the national forensic service the firearm that was found in the home of the police PC Mortis along with the expended shells that were found at the scene to the national forensic service again for ballistic testing. One of the requirements that we have had is that when you come to licensed the gun for the first time, we have you discharge the gun and we keep the expended shell for our database. We have also located the expended shells from Mr. Mortis' licensed weapon. So even though he has not cooperated in terms of handing in his licensed weapon or telling us where it is, we have the expended shells from his weapon and so those expended shells was also sent to the national forensic service and they will compare it to see if the same gun that fired those shells that we had from his licensed gun is the same gun that fired the shells that were found at the scene. So we are hoping that we will be able to get a breakthrough once the ballistic test returned. We have also submitted the clothing that was taken from the other police officer and that went to the forensic lab for DNA testing. If it can be proven that the blood found on his clothing belong to either the wife or the deceased, then again that will help us to be able to build a circumstantial case on the other police man."

"We are trying to build public trust and confidence in the work of the police and when we have things like this occurring it's a setback to what we are trying to achieve. Notwithstanding that though, I would hope that the public would be comforted to know that we are doing our best to solve it (1) and (2) the officer was not on actual duty in that he was on interdiction which would indicate that we have already identified him as a bad seed. Sometimes I wish that we could just dismiss these type of people, but the law requires that we must go through a process and we have to follow the law and that's what we are doing."

Jules Vasquez
"Should he ever wear a police uniform again?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I don't think he should."

Channel 7


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On Friday, January 20, 2023, police formally arrested and charged Edward Moraga and Winfield Mortis for the murder of island businessman Elvis Polanco, which occurred in San Pedro Town on November 19, 2022.

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Cop And Fisherman Charged For Island Murder

[Linked Image] Yesterday, the two men charged for the San Pedro murder of 43-year-old, Elvis Polanco were arraigned in Belize City Magistrate's Court. As we have been reporting, one of them is a policeman under interdiction, 33 year old Winfield Mortis from Belize City, and his alleged accomplice, 25 year old Fisherman, Edward Moraga from Roaring Creek.

Both men were security guards at Polanco's club, and they allegedly robbed and killed him on the morning of November 19th when he and his wife were coming from the club with eleven thousand dollars in cash.

Police made the arrest, reportedly after 3 bullet slugs found at the murder scene matched the constable's licensed gun. The duo appeared in Court #6 where they were read two criminal offenses, one count of murder, and one count of robbery.

They were remanded to prison pending their next court appearance.

Channel 7


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