An on duty Belize Defense Force Soldier shot and killed a man at the
San Pablo Community Center on Saturday night. The deceased is George Kenny Cortez
– a resident of Douglas Village. He and his family were at the shelter
because of the quarantine in Douglas.
The official story from police is that Cortez was drunk and behaving
disorderly around 8 on Saturday night. That’s when two soldiers assigned
to the shelter – Lance Corporal Paulino Pop and Private Paulino Assi jumped
in. According to the soldiers, they tried to subdue George Cortez but he cursed
them and approached them in a threatening manner. Private Assi fired a warning
shot in the air but he claims George Cortez continued to advance which is why
he fired a third shot which hit George Cortez in the left leg. Cortez was taken
to the Northern Regional Hospital and then to the KHMH where he died early the
And while that’s the official story, Cortez’s aunt Alexandria
Roman says that’s not the whole story. She says her nephew was drunk but
he was unarmed and more than that, she says her nephew was shot from behind.
Alexandria Roman, Aunt of Deceased
“He was half drunk. I told him when he was cursing up out there and
thing but it was nothing for the soldier to get vex. I told him to come in but
he didn’t listen to me and I told the soldier he didn’t have to
shoot him. He could have taken the boy and call the policeman so they could
come and arrest him. But no, he meant to kill the little boy. And next thing
is he said the little boy had a machete but the little boy didn’t have
any machete. That is a lie.”
You said he was half drunk, what was he doing wrong?
“He was just standing up by the gat and cursing but he didn’t
haul any tools or nothing.”
So the BDF soldiers told him to behave himself and he didn’t?
“No, he was just cursing and cursing.”
So they fired two shots?
“They came out of the yard and went behind him and fired the shot.”
Sister of Deceased,
“They shot him “back-on” and two of them were under liquor
and it can’t be like that. They have to do something about this. This
can’t stay like that.”
Was Kenny a trouble maker?
Sister of Deceased,
“He is nobody who gives trouble. He doesn’t bother anyone. He
holds his corner and when he drinks sometimes he gives problem and thing but
everybody knows how he behaves and this stupid BDF, he will come and shot my
little brother like he is stupid.”
Private Paulino Assi is being held at the BDF Headquarters at Price
Barracks pending the outcome of the police investigation. A post mortem will
be conducted tomorrow.