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Belize Bar Owner Says Jasmine Hartin 'Did Have An Interest In Guns' Following Imprisoned Socialite's Alleged Fatal Shooting Of Prominent Cop

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A bar owner in Belize who knows both Jasmine Hartin and the prominent cop she is accused of shooting dead says the socialite had an affinity for firearms and knew how to use them.

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William Reyes – the 35-year-old former soldier who runs AJ's (Average Joe's) Sports Bar and Restaurant in the small Central American country – referred to the late San Pedro Superintendent Henry Jemmott as his "brother" and said 32-year-old Hartin was "like family" to him.

"Now one is gone and the other is locked up in jail," Reyes said in an emotional interview.

Reyes said Jemmott – who he met in the military in the early 2000s – was at his bar the night he died.

"He had a whisky, just one, which he still owes me for. He said I'm coming back and I'll pay for it. Two-and-a-half hours later I heard he was dead," he said. "I'm so pissed at him for never coming back. It's crushing me because I loved them both."

And in his darkest days, Reyes said he would turn to Hartin, who met her husband, Andrew Ashcroft – the son of British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft – in Belize.

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Hartin initially told authorities that someone on a passing boat had shot and killed Jemmott on May 28 while the two were drinking together on the San Pedro pier; however, after investigators threatened her with a drug charge for cocaine possession, she told cops she accidentally shot him while handing him his service Glock pistol. Hartin said Jemmott then fell on her, and in her panic to get him off, his body fell off the pier and into the water.

The second story is the one Reyes believes.

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"I know in my heart it was an accident. I think she shot him, he fell on her, she rolled him off, just as she said," he explained, adding that Glocks have a tendency to "go off easily."

"I've heard the theories but for me it all points to a terrible accident," he insisted. "Like with any military person, Henry always had one in the chamber. You never know when that one round will save your life."

Reyes added that "Jasmine did have an interest in guns, she had some experience with them. I can imagine she might have admired or held it. But when you're drunk, you might think you're capable of handling a firearm, but you're not, you're clumsy, you're impaired."

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Reyes attributed Hartin's interest in and knowledge of pistols to having grown up on a farm in Canada, as well as her desire to protect her kids after being thrust into Belize's spotlight.

"Jasmine was good with guns. She grew up on a farm shooting things. She showed me videos of her shooting at the range," he said. "She would often say, can I see your gun. I would clear it, take the normal safety precautions and let her hold it."

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He said the mother of two was also "under a lot of stress" while serving as the director of lifestyle and experience at the Alaia Belize, a luxury resort developed by her husband. According to Reyes, the accolade that came with the position made her fear for her family's safety.

"She was scared. There were a lot of robberies at that time. Andrew had a pistol, a 9mm Springfield XD that would be locked in a case," Reyes said. "He had a shotgun but [Jasmine] didn't have access to that. She wanted her own gun to protect her kids."

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Hartin was transferred from the San Pedro Police Station to Belize Central Prison in Hattieville earlier this week. It's been reported that her husband has not visited her or been seen since the incident.

Hartin will remain behind bars until at least Wednesday when her bail hearing takes place in Belizean Supreme Court.

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She will most likely walk free since authorities opted against a murder or manslaughter charge, charging her instead with manslaughter by negligence.

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"I'm angry with both Jasmine and Henry. It's both their faults. As a professional you should never take out your weapon, even if you want to relax," Reyes said. "I'm angry at the fact Henry never came back. I cry for him. I break down, knowing that he's gone. I cry for Jasmine too."

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Noting that "there have been times in my life when she has brought me back from the edge," Reyes described Hartin as a " a good person with a big heart" who "took great care of her kids."

"I can sense her pain, I know she is sitting in that cell crying her eyes out for Henry and for her kids. She took a life and I accept she needs to be punished," he said. "But they don't need to lock her up, she is no threat to anyone. She needs help, she needs rehab, not a prison sentence. She regrets that night 110 percent."



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