A prominent Belize City businessman shot and killed a man over the weekend
and tonight police say the shooting may have been justified. The dead man is
23-year-old Shawn Copious and he was killed by 30-year-old Chayben Abou-Nehra,
more commonly known as Ben.
The official story from police is that around 3:30 on Saturday morning Abou-Nehra
arrived at his home near the corner of Lottie Waight Street and Meighan Avenue
and found Copious in his yard. Abou-Nehra told police he asked the man what
he was doing there and that is when he claims that Copious advanced on him with
in a menacing manner. Abou-Nehra says that is when drew his licensed 9 millimeter.
Abou-Nehra fired as many as 6 shots, killing Copious.
Police Press Officer G. Michael Reid says that a large meat cleaver was
found on the deceased. Reid adds that Abou-Nehra spent 48 hours in police custody.
But he has been released without charges, as police say investigations continue.
And as Copious lies in the morgue awaiting an autopsy, his mother Caroline wonders
why her only child was killed.
Caroline Copious, Deceased's Mother
"I saw my son in that state and I know they really meant to kill my
son. The whole of him was bruised very badly and there was blood running out
of his nose and his mouth and his teeth was broken out. He was ugly, he looked
What do you think happened to your son?
"That they beat him, they really beat him bad before they shot him."
But you wouldn't deny that your son was in this man's yard and he wasn't supposed
to be there?
"I don't know because by the time my son left from here, how could he
gone into anyone's house when he was going to the fair. He told me he was going
to the fair."
What do you think happened Friday night? How did he end up in this man's yard?
"It's a mystery, it's a mystery. I feel tore open right now."
Lawrence Maheia, Deceased's Stepfather
"The police didn't satisfy us with this investigation at all. All they
told us is to go the morgue and wait for them for the autopsy; no satisfaction
for the mother. The man came up to us at the CIB, the brother of the man who
shot Shawn and offered us $3,000 to bury Shawn. We took the money because we
really need to bury our son, not because we want to be bought over."
So you wouldn't take that as a bribe?
"No its not a bribe, its just to help bury the son."
"I don't think he is looking to buy over the family because it's in
the police's hands."
A decision on whether to charge Abou-Nehra ultimately lies with the DPP.
Press Officer G. Michael Reid says the police have already forwarded the case
file. We note that Copious has had numerous run-ins with the law and was on
trial for handling stolen goods. He has a previous conviction for theft. In
that regard, Abou-Nehra was also accused of shooting a man earlier this year
at BTL Park but no charges were brought in that case.