Gunshots rang out just around the corner from Love FM’s office last night, and within an hour one man was dead. We join Reporter Vejea Alvarez for the story.
Vijea Alvarez, Love News: 21-year-old Jerome McLaren spent the last moments of his life sitting on this scooter laughing and talking with family and friends. McLaren had just finished playing basketball and decided to chill for a bit when he was approached by a lone gunman who fired several shots in his direction. McLaren’s mother Sharon Cocom didn’t see her son murdered but she did see the suspected shooter leave the crime scene. It’s a memory she says she will not soon forget.
Sharon Cocom, Mother of the Deceased: “I was sitting down right here last night where I am and you hear vehicles passing up and down every minute and a cycle came and stop right where that lamppost is, walked in this yard and I heard gunshots so I just threw myself back and after that I just said let me jump up to see who got shot. When I looked I saw a man, I didn’t see his face or anything. I just saw a silver gun and he was pushing it in his side and he was walking out the yard and I ran in that direction and I said “You shot my son. You killed my son. You killed my son.” and I ran to my son and I just started to pray on top of my son. When I reached my son, blood was coming out, he was hunched across the cycle that was there and blood was just gushing out of his mouth and he was gasping for breath. I said “Jerome ask God for forgiveness. Ask God for forgiveness. Repent Jerome, ask God to forgive you.” and that was what I was saying to Jerome and his mouth was gasping and I was telling him I was repeating that to him. I just saw his body structure, I didn’t see his face and he jumped on his cycle and tried to start his cycle; the three times I hollered “You shot my son.” the cycle couldn’t start and the last time I hollered “You killed my son.” and that is when the cycle started and he rode off.”
Vijea Alvarez, Love News: Hours later many are trying to figure out a motive for this gruesome murder. Jerome’s mother told Love News that she’s clueless as to why someone would have wanted her son dead.
Sharon Cocom, Mother of the Deceased: “Jerome was a happy little boy, liked running jokes’ but couldn’t take jokes. Jerome helped me. Jerome was my bread winner. Jerome got his job and he came and said “Here mommy.” as he walked in that door he put his hand in his back pocket and hauled out his wallet and said “Here mommy.” If I wasn’t here he would tell his sister to give mommy this when mommy comes and Jerome every payday from Jerome was young Jerome sold Tablata for me, went on a bike sold Tablata gave me all the money and waited for his little fifty cents or shilling. Jereome bought all his brothers and sister’s school bags for school for them to go back to school. Jerome was my father so to speak you know because he took care of the house, he would go buy for me, Jerome – as I said he had his little ways but Jerome was still a lot of love and I will miss Jerome and I love Jerome.
Vijea Alvarez, Love News: Jerome was the bread winner of his family and while the killer has taken so much from the family Cocom says she has already forgiven the murder and would just like to send a message of love for him.
Sharon Cocom, Mother of the Deceased: “To the person that did it I don’t know who you are but God knows who you are and I just want you to know that I forgive you. Me, Sharon Cocom the mother of Jerome McLaren, forgive you. You took away my son from me so now you will be my son. I will take it to be my business for every day I get up, every morning, afternoon, noon I will pray for you for God to take you as his child and you surrender your life and your heart to God. If they find you I will come to visit you in prison. You will be my Jerome McLaren that you took away from me. I will lead you to Jesus Christ and for all the mothers out there that have a son out there that is gone by gun violence you just stay strong and have faith and trust in God because God is love and I love this person, although I don’t know him, I didn’t see his friend I love you. You are my Jerome, you just remember that.
Vijea Alvarez, Love News: Investigators reached the crime scene just after eight o’clock last night. By nine thirty McLaren was pronounced dead. Police say that while McLaren has had a few brushes with the law he was not suspected of being involved in any major criminal activities.
Supt. Alejandro Cowo, Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch, Belize City: We spoke to different persons that were there and also family members to inquire from them if at any time Mr.McLaren had been threatened or anything that he had gone through with anybody for the past days or maybe the past year but up to now we cannot give you a definite motive as to why he was shot. At this moment police are in the area canvassing to see what other additional information we can get.