Map: Phoenix homicide
PHOENIX -- Police continue to search for the gunman who shot and killed an apartment complex security guard last week.
It happened shortly after 1:30 a.m. Friday. Witnesses reported hearing shots fired and seeing a car flee from the scene.
Arriving officers found Jeffrey Bellemare, 59, dead. Those who live at the apartment complex where he worked say he was well-liked and made them feel safe.
That sentiment is offering some comfort to Bellemare’s grieving family.
“I have no regrets. We had 34 wonderful years together,” said Karan Bellemare, Jeff’s wife.
She said she knew her husband's job was inherently dangerous, working security at the Graybriar apartment complex in Maryvale, but she never expected it would cost him his life.
“Jeff was the type of person you couldn't tell him what to do if he had his mind made up,” Karan said. “And his mind was made up. He loved what he did and I couldn’t take that away from him so I have no regrets and I know he doesn't either.”
Bellemare took his job seriously, which most residents appreciated.
“He wanted no harm to come to any of them and if it meant standing up for them, that's what he did,” Karan said.
Bellemare was unarmed and was not wearing a protective vest early Friday morning, but that didn't prevent him from doing his job. His employer, Valley Protective Services, is looking at what can be learned from this tragedy.
“If everybody had the character Jeff had, treating people with respect and dignity, that’s something everyone needs to learn every day. Sadly, someone didn’t recognize that and they took Jeff’s life,” said David Connant, CEO of Valley Protective services. “We’d like to find ways to provide more training and equipment to keep our staff safer."
This is the first time a security guard has been killed in the company’s 13-year history. The company does provide armed security but that is not what the Graybriar Apartment complex wanted. Connant said that agreement is now being re-evaluated.
Karan takes comfort in that.
“We can't have this happen to another guard out there so there will be some changes, and to lose his life over those changes may be the reason why this happened,” she said.
Still, his family wants justice.
“We have to think what he would want and he wouldn't want revenge. But justice? Absolutely,” said Jeff’s son, Kyle Bellemare.
If you have any information regarding this case you are urged to call Phoenix police or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. There is a reward and you can remain anonymous. Fundraisers are in the works benefiting the Bellemare Family. For more information on that, email firstname.lastname@example.org.