Corozal man executed in the park in front of family and friends

The silence of Patchakan village in Corozal district was shattered by the sound of gunfire on Thursday evening. When the dust settled, twenty-eight-year-old Benito Canela lay dead before his common-law wife Indy Ruiz and a group of neighbors. They were all socializing in a park near the entrance to the village just before 9am when a gunman attacked. It is said that Canela is a respected person in his community, known and loved by everyone there. So, what was the motive behind his murder? Who wanted him dead, and is his execution related to the increased presence of cartel elements from neighboring Chetumal? News Five’s Paul Lopez traveled to Patchakan Village today to learn more about Canela’s gruesome murder. Here’s that report.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

A father of two was executed in Patchakan Village on Thursday evening while socializing with a group of family and friends. Twenty-eight-year-old Benito Canela and his partner Indy Cruz were sitting in a park next to their home when a gunman attacked him. Cruz says they sat in the park almost every night after dinner.

Indy Ruiz

Indy Ruiz

Indy Ruiz, Common Law of the Deceased

“I asked him where he was going and he said he was going to call his daughter because it was her birthday. And so he said, let’s go so you can tell her happy birthday too. I went with him and we sat there. He picked up his phone to call his daughter and she didn’t answer. I told him it’s Thursday and they go to church on Thursday. He hung up and gave me his phone and also told me to hold the key to the motorcycle because he doesn’t like to hold things which he always gives to me. And so we were talking and he hugged me and then our neighbor came over. She asked us what we were doing here and I said we were just getting some fresh air, so she came and sat with us. She was walking with her daughter when my mother called me and asked me to come and see the baby. It didn’t even last more than five minutes and then I went outside with them again.”

Ruiz and Canela had been seeing each other for just over a year. Together they have four children. She says that when she came back from talking to her mother, they continued to talk and hang out as they normally would. That’s when a man, wearing a mask to conceal his identity, approached them.

Indy Ruiz

“One of my nieces was there with her two-year-old baby and we were all sitting there relaxing and talking and there he was telling us jokes when a man came out of my father’s garden and he called to him, “Hey”, where are you going? And he said he came to buy a volt, so he told him it was bad for him. We then saw him leave and he laughed and we were still there. Then suddenly we saw another person walking towards us but he was covered, his whole head, he was covered and when this person came in front of us he lifted his head and his face was also covered.

She says Canela took action and pushed her off him. That’s when the gunman opened fire in Canela’s direction. The gunman pointed his gun at Canela and no one else who was nearby at the time.

Indy Ruiz

“He saw it and he pushed me aside and I fell. Then I heard the shots. I shouted at him to get up but he was already on the ground so I ran to where he was and the shots continued. I hugged him and not a single shot hit me just him. No one else but him. All they wanted was him, and there he was on the ground. The police came quickly and when he turned to look at me he just opened his eyes as if he wanted to say something, but I don’t know what he wanted to say. My little brother came and called him, brother-in-law, and he tried to talk again, but he started vomiting blood and we stayed there. He couldn’t do it anymore. He was shot more than nine times and there he lay. We asked for help, but we couldn’t do anything.”

According to Ruiz, Canela never told her he had problems with anyone. She spent most of her time at home with the family. News Five understands the shooter fled the scene in a white Ford Ranger pickup. The police recovered ten nine-millimeter grenades from the scene. No suspect has yet been identified for this latest murder. Interior Minister Kareem Musa was asked whether Canela’s killing was linked to the increased presence of cartel elements from neighboring Chetumal.

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Minister of the Interior

“The preliminary information is that it does not lead in that direction. But as you rightly pointed out with the very tense situation that is currently happening in Chetumal, we cannot assess that as a motive, as a possible connection, and so the police are also looking from that angle, but so far that is not the case. seems to be the case.”

News reporter

‘Can you say if that was related to Arana’s murder? And have you received reports that Mr. Arana may not have been the intended target?”

Kareem Musa

“I did not receive that report, no. And I can’t say that right now. We have not yet been informed whether there is a connection between the two.”

News reporter

“Do you know if it was drug related in general?”

Kareem Musa

“Again, I can’t say at this point. I’m sure we’ll get more information as the day progresses.”

Indy Ruiz

“When he came here he told me he was happy because he cut his cane and everything. But he didn’t have any problems with anyone here in the village. Here everyone knows him as he is.”

News reporter

He used to have a second family, that is, he had a family before he got together with you. Do you think it might be an act of jealousy?

Indy Ruiz

“No, because as far as I know he has nothing to do with that family.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Paul Lopez.