A Maryland science teacher on a family vacation in the Central American country of Belize has been shot to death while trying to protect his wife and son from robbers.

Raymond Kirk, 47, of Chesapeake City, was killed Sunday at the Singing Sands Inn on the Caribbean coast, about 80 miles south of Belize City. His wife and 12-year-old son were uninjured. Police were searching for the killers.In a telephone interview, Bruce Larkin, the owner of the inn, said Kirk was shot by one of three men who held up his restaurant and apparently were about to rob Kirk's cabin nearby.

The three men arrived by boat Sunday evening and walked into the restaurant, where there were about a dozen customers, Larkin said. Two of the men had revolvers, and the third had a rifle, he said.

"Everyone did exactly as they were told, fortunately," Larkin said.

The robbers took about $200 in cash, jewelry from the customers, liquor, cigarettes and a cordless telephone.

As they returned to their boat, they saw a light on in Kirk's cabin, the closest to the dock. Kirk apparently saw them coming, hid his wife and son in the bathroom and waited with a hunting knife.

"When they opened the door, (Kirk) was standing in the doorway, and they just immediately shot him," said Larkin, an Australian who has lived in Belize for five years. "He was trying to protect himself and his family."

Kirk's body was scheduled to be flown back Wednesday to the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Belize said.

According to a U.S. State Department advisory, crimes against tourists in Belize resorts are rare.

Kirk had taught in Cecil County since 1981 and was a science teacher at North East Middle School since 1989. His wife is also a science teacher in the county at Bohemia Manor Middle School.