US tourist killed by gunfire in Belize

January 1, 2023 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The United States Embassy in the Central American nation of Belize on Sunday confirmed the death of a U.S. citizen there and said it was closely monitoring the local investigation.

Belize Police Commissioner Chester Williams told local outlet 7 News Belize on Saturday that two men had been arrested and charged with murder in the killing that occurred Friday night in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, a popular tourist destination.

The U.S. Embassy, in keeping with State Department policy, did not identify the victim. However, New Orleans media outlet identified her as J’Bria Bowens, a nursing student a Louisiana State University.

Bowens was apparently struck by gunfire outside a nightclub.

“The tourist was not the intended target, it just so happened she was in the line of fire between these two factions,” Williams told 7 News Belize. He said the attackers used an assault rifle and the intended target had been a local gang leader.