UPDATED: Homicide Caps String of Violent Crimes in Belle Glade

An alleged burglary and homicide in Belle Glade yesterday afternoon was the third in a string of violent crimes in the impoverished city in the past ten days.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, a man in a black hoodie and a ski mask shot and killed an employee of the Quick Service Store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard during a robbery around 3:45 p.m. yesterday. Authorities are still trying to notify the next of kin, so they have not released the name of the victim. UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Ali Ballout, 58, of Belle Glade.
The suspect was last seen armed, running from the store.

One day earlier, Johnisha J. Dawson, 25, was arrested for stabbing a man in the abdomen during what sheriff's officials say was a domestic dispute in Prewitt Village in Belle Glade. The victim, Luckner Pierre Jr., 24, was sent to the hospital in serious condition.

And on the morning of April 9, a woman discovered an unidentified man's dead body lying on SW Fourth Street.

With unemployment at 40 percent in the Glades area -- which includes Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay -- a rise in violent crime is the last thing the sugar-farming town needs. According to the Palm Beach Post, overall crime in Belle Glade rose by 6.4 percent last year.

The Juice called PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera to find out if the most recent spate of violence is part of a larger trend or just a disturbing coincidence. We will update when she responds.

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