The independent report ordered by the Organization of American States (OAS) earlier in the month of June, on the shooting death of 13 year old Guatemalan Julio Ruano in April of this year in the El Sapote area of the Chiquibul National Park concluded earlier this week.
Today the results of that report was released and the findings upheld Belize’s position on what transpired that led to the death of the minor. The 22-page report, which was put together by two international forensic specialists commissioned by the OAS establishes that the Joint BDF and ranger patrol was fired upon FIRST by a group of three Guatemalans, which was being led by 48-year-old Carlos Alfredo Alvarado Ramirez along with his two sons, 14 year old Julio René Alvarado Ruano and 2 year old Carlos Alberto Alvarado Ruano. Information obtained by the forensic experts indicate that Ramirez was in the army for a few months and is quote “mentally nimble and able to find arguments to justify his actions quickly and effectively”.
The report further establishes that a total of 31 shots were fired from 3 different weapons belonging to the joint patrol, which were fired AFTER the Guatemalans fired in their direction. The two bullets which caused the fatal injuries to the 14 year old came from a MOSSBERG 12 gauge shotgun belonging to an FCD ranger. The other shots which injured Julio Alvarado were from a RUGER point twenty two caliber rifle also belonging to an FCD ranger. The shots received by Carlos Alvarado to the knee and the 12-year-old to the elbow also came from the MOSSBERG shotgun. However, the three shots that were fired from the high powered M4 Carbine belonging to the BDF Patrol Commander, did not injure anyone.
The timeline of events established by the forensic team concluded that at around 5:00 on the evening of Wednesday April 20, the joint patrol detained a Guatemalan national, namely José María Antonio Reyes, the Patrol commander then ordered two FCD rangers to stand guard with the detainee while he tried to establish contact with his base to report that detention. At around 7:00p.m., the FCD rangers detected three people approaching from about 5 meters away, and ordered them to stop but instead, one Guatemalan opened fire which other members of the joint patrol who were in the perimeters believed to be from a point twenty two caliber weapon. The first ranger fired four shots from his weapon, a RUGER point twenty two caliber firearm, followed swiftly by the second ranger who fired two shots from his MOSSBERG shotgun. The Patrol Commander then reported that he immediately made his way to where the two rangers were and established that they had not been injured, then fired 3 shots with his M4 Carbine in the general vicinity of where the Guatemalans had fired from, after which Alvarado’s lifeless body was discovered.
It was established by the two forensic specialists that from the 31 projectiles that were fired, 8 of them had hit Julio Alvarado. The first two projectiles that came from the MOSSBERG shotgun hit him to the left shoulder as he turned right to run away, and another 2 from the RUGER point twenty two firearm hit him to the neck while another two from the MOSSBERG shotgun hit him to the back and caused his lungs to be punctured which ultimately led to his death. Although 48 year old, Carlos Alvarado Ramirez in interviews repeatedly denied having a firearm and only carrying a long thick stick used for planting, the forensic experts established that at the scene there is evidence of two branches that have holes from shots fired TOWARD the BDF/FCD by the Guatemalans which in the end serves to vindicate the name of the Belize Defense Force after Guatemala’s president and Foreign Minister attacked them by calling them unprofessional and Human rights violators.