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Several arrested following murder of American tourist

Editorial Staff

Jan 1, 2023

Police in Belize has arrested several people as investigations into the shooting death of a US citizen continue.

J’Bria Michelle Bowens, an American tourist was killed by a stray bullet outside of a nightclub in Belize on Friday. She was not the target.

Police Commissioner Chester Williams told 7 News Belize that it appeared Bowens was struck as an unintended target of a gunman who fired indiscriminately with an assault-style rifle toward another person standing by the entrance to the nightclub around 9:27 p.m. Williams said the intended target was believed to be a leading member of a local drug-selling gang and was being sought for questioning. Williams said other people also were taken into custody for questioning.

Meanwhile Belize Prime Minister John Briceño confirmed that police have arrested a number of persons.

Bowens, 23 was a medical student at Louisiana State University. She was reportedly celebrating a birthday with family members on the Belize island of San Pedro, was struck by gunfire outside the Jaguars nightclub in San Pedro’s Central Park,

In a statement, Briceño described Bowens’ death as a “random act of terrorism” which could negatively impact the already struggling tourism industry.

“San Pedro has long enjoyed peace and security as a result of strong, disciplined Police presence and solid community support,” he said.

He has called on residents of San Pedro to stand with police as they hunt for criminals in the community.

Bowens graduated from Xavier University in May, and according to her Facebook page was continuing her education in New Orleans, pursuing a degree in nursing at the LSU Health Sciences Center.

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