Caye Caulker Police Officer Shot .......Assailant Commits Suicide

On Tuesday, October 22nd, 1996, at around 7:35 a.m. Corporal 12 Cruz Rodriguez, stationed in Caye Caulker was shot by his common-law wife Esther Lucas.

At 7:30 a.m. that morning PC 709 Leroy Nuņez, who is stationed at the Caulker Police Station went into the office to make a phone call. A short time after, Corporal Cruz Rodriguez, who lives upstairs of the Police Station came into the office looking very upset. PC Nuņez left Corporal Rodriguez for five minutes and when he returned to the station he was met by a neighbour, Orvil Holden, who reported that Corporal Rodriguez had been shot by his common-law wife and was walking towards the airstrip.

PC Nuņez went up stairs to question Lucas but she did not respond to his questions. She had locked herself in the upstairs room and refused to come out. The officer left the station and went in search of the corporal, who had been seen heading towards the airstrip. Nuņez found Rodriguez and arranged for Wings of Hope to fly him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. While at the airstrip Nuņez received a phone call from a concerned neighbour who reported that around 8:05 a.m. a gunshot had been heard coming from the floor above of the Police Station. Nuņez quickly responded and went to the second floor of the police station building where Lucas had locked herself in the room. After Lucas failed to respond to his calls, Nuņez broke in the door. He found Lucas laying across the bed with a police service revolver in her hand. She had a gun shot wound to the right side of the head and was dead.

Corporal Rodriguez sustained a gun shot wound to the neck area. He is being treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City and has been reported to be in a critical yet stable condition.

Assistant Inspector Dean Lozano, of the San Pedro Police Department, responded to the incident and reported that Esther Lucas, 32, was born in Stann Creek District and lived for a time in Belize City. From there she moved to Caye Caulker where she was working and met Corporal Rodriguez. Their relationship developed and they lived as common-law wife and husband. The incident is believed to have ensued from a heated argument between Rodriguez and Lucas. Lucas had accused Rodriguez of having an affair with another woman who lived on the island. The tension of that morning had been building for some time because of the deterioration of their relationship. Rodriguez had threatened to send Lucas back to Belize City and end their relationship.

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