Punta Gorda man shot and killed during police chase

By on January 14, 2018

Mario Vernon, Jr. [Deceased] Photo|| Julet Vernon Austin

Mario Vernon, Jr.
Photo|| Julet Vernon Austin

Punta Gorda, TOLEDO. Sunday, January 14, 2018. A 24 year old man, identified as Mario Vernon, Jr., was shot and killed last night (Saturday) in Punta Gorda town.

Mario Vernon, Jr was shot in the head and police have confirmed that the deceased was fatally wounded by an officer who was in the process of trying to apprehend Vernon.

According to a police press release issued on Sunday morning, officers on mobile patrol received information that Mario Vernon, Jr. was “was in a yard with a firearm.”

Upon their arrival in the area, authorities say the officers from the mobile unit “observed Mario Vernon running in a nearby yard towards Middle Street.”

The officers set chase and one of the policemen reports seeing “what appeared to be a firearm” in Vernon’s hand and that Vernon “while running, pointed it towards the officer.”

That officer, according to the official version of what transpired, “fearing for his life, drew his .38 service revolver and fired a single shot which
caught Vernon on the right side of his head.”

Mario Vernon, Jr. was transported to the Punta Gorda hospital whee he was
pronounced dead on arrival.

Personnel from the Professional Standards Branch and the Crimes Investigation Branch of the Belize Police Department have been dispatched to Punta Gorda town to investigate the killing.

The shooting took place around 9:30 pm on Saturday.

Police say that “a Lorsin Brand .380 pistol was retrieved from the scene.”

Julet Vernon Austin essay

Julet Vernon Austin essay

The fatal shooting of Mario Vernon, Jr. sparked outrage from the quiet community of Punta Gorda.

His family has called for “a full and thorough investigation” of the incident, stating publicaly on social media that “this has only just begun.”

Writing under the heading “Youth In Peril – and so they perish under the shade of the tree,” Houston-based educator and former teacher in Punta Gorda town Julet Vernon Austin described thee death of Mario Vernon, Jr as the “execution of a youth in Punta Gorda town.”

Vernon Austin goes on to detail an account of what she understood transpired leading up to the fatal shooting.

Mrs. Austin alleges in her online essay that “people had called his superior officer to ask that he be removed from the private property,” referring to the officer who allegedly fired the fatal shot.

“No one came,” stated Mrs. Austin, who later in the essay acknowledged that Mario Vernon, Jr was her nephew.

She also notes that as she sat with the father of the deceases at 12:04 am on Sunday, January 14, 2018, Mario Vernon Senior mentioned to her that “his son feared for his life after a police officer had told him he cannot live in Punta Gorda town, the place of his birth, a right protected by the Constitution of Belize.

According to the Police’s press release, “the Commissioner of Police has ordered a joint criminal and internal investigation into the incident.”

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