Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean O. Barrow made his first official visit to South Florida over the weekend from June 25 to 27. The trip was to bring Hon. Barrow closer to South Florida's Belizean community in an effort to foster investment and business opportunities.
But his trip was made a bit more interesting than he and his guests had anticipated. On Saturday, June 26, while PM Barrow was wrapping up his speech at the Miami Beach Resort & Spa, he was interrupted by Miami Beach Police who arrived at the hotel to investigate the shooting death of a man who was found on the 11th floor.
According to the Miami Herald, police officers pulled out and quickly evacuated 1,000 people from the hotel - including a100-person wedding party and the 300 guests who gathered to hear Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow speak in a separate hall.
Here in Belize, while residents were bracing for Tropical Storm Alex to arrive, rumors began to circulating and some news outlets were reporting that the PM had been shot during his first official visit to the U.S.
The Miami Herald reports that Hon. Barrow's staff and most hotel guests were stranded outside the resort for hours, unable to retrieve their vehicles from valet parking. Guests weren't allowed back in until about 3a.m.
Probe into death of Man inside a Miami Beach Hotel Continues
- Excerpts from the Miami Herald
“The chaos at the resort began at about 10p.m., when Miami Beach police received a call of a fatal shooting on the 11th floor of the hotel. A man covered in blood, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, told arriving officers his friend had been shot, Miami Beach police officer Deborah Doty said. But as police got off the elevator, they were hit by the choking fumes.
Guests said the bride, identified as Felicia Ramirez, had been on her second dance when the hotel was evacuated. She cried while sitting on the curb outside the resort, still in her white dress. She had planned and saved for the wedding for two years, they said.
In another ballroom, Barrow was wrapping up his speech with an update on Tropical Storm Alex when a Secret Service member whispered in his ear, bringing the speech to an abrupt end and scuttling plans for a post-speech concert. Barrow was escorted out, said Jameli Bedran, a member of the committee that organized the event.
On the 11th floor, police spent the night collecting evidence and questioning witnesses. No arrests have been made. The victim's name has not been released.”
It has now been confirmed that the man who was killed was a Russian tourist who, along with a friend, hired two prostitutes from the Miami Beach area. It is not clear why the shooting occurred but apparently the agent or manager of the women showed up and killed the tourist.