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Marty Offline OP
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Tonight, the cycling community and the wider society is reeling from the murder of one of our national sporting icons. Ernest Jawmeighan Meighan was killed on Saturday morning at the far end of George Street.

He was executed with indiscriminate precision, most likely as an act of retaliation for a crime he didn't commit. And just like that, the father of seven children and the subject of so many nationalist cycling fantasies was killed on a walkway over a drain: a tragic, unthinkable end for one of the country's best known sportsmen. 7News was on the scene, and Daniel Ortiz has the story:..

Daniel Ortiz reporting
42 year-old Ernest "Jawmeighan" Meighan was shot here in front of his girlfriend's house on George Street. He had just finished visiting his children, and was leaving. At around 11:35, he was getting into his vehicle when a gunman ambushed him shot him once in the back of the head.

He died 5 minutes later, while being rushed to the hospital.

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"As I took ... I need a break."(crying)

His family, friends, and indeed the entire country is now mourning his loss. One of those is his long- time friend, mentor, cycling partner and employer Santiago Castillo Jr., who thinks of Jawmeighan as a son.

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"On April 15th I lost Ernest "Dangalang" Thurton and yesterday August 9th I lost Ernest "Jawmeighan" Meighan."

Speculation is rampant at this time as to what may have caused his execution, but all agree that Jawmeighan wasn't in anyway personally connected to the street life. Still he and his common-law wife had received threats.

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"He mentioned to me, it was either Wednesday or Thursday that there were threats on both his and Marinetts's life. Well that threat was a real threat. As a matter of fact many of his friends told him of that threat. That threat was at Ordonez Bike Shop, that threat had been sent all over and he was told by many friends including me to be careful and to stay away from George Street."

"And he refuse to do so."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"He told me 'boss, I have my life to live, I can't hide for something I am not responsible for, I don't condone any actions of any of my children.' In no way did he condone anything that happened by anyone that was involved in any crime, any of his family members."

That very same strong familial connection, though, is what may be connected to his death.

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"Jawmeighan went there about quarter pass ten, received a phone call, went to the room and spoke to the person who called him, pick up his clothes which were wash. He picked up a 5 gallon to go filled it with water, he was in his truck, came down the steps, put it in his car, turned around to close the gate and he was shot in the back of the head. His 15 year old daughter was the first one to see him fall and called out to her mother who came done. She told me that Jawmeighan was still gasping for air when she held him and they ask some neighbors to take him to the hospital and by the time he got there he was dead."

In September 2009, Jawmeighan himself knew that same sense of loss, when he discussed the execution style murder of his brother, 37 year old Ellis "Pepper Gacho" Meighan Sr.

File: September 14, 2009
Ernest "Jawmaine" Meighan, Brother of Murder Victim

"I was shocked when I get the phone call, I said I could never believe somebody would kill my brother. I don't think so, not in that kind of way. He doesn't deserve something like that."

File: September 14, 2009
Ernest "Jawmeighan" Meighan

"After I heard my brother got shot I spoke to one of the police and they told me that they expected a retaliation long time for something which his son did. Police were expecting a retaliation long time but it just happened now because of some shooting or something that his son did and like the thing go, if you can't Harry you catch his shirt."

And "the shirt" they caught 5 years later may have been Jawmeighan:..

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"I would say that they took an innocent man's life. Jawmeighan is not involved in the world of gangs. Jawmeighan was not in involved in any kind of crime and quite this thing 'bout if I can't catch Peter, I will catch his shirt has to stop."

Castillo Jr's sentiments are echoed all across the cycling world, that the way he lived his life is not equivalent to the undignified and callous death he experienced. He was known as a family man, an entrepreneur, and an elite cycling athlete who rode professionally for over 2 decades.

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"Jawmeighan is like my son. We hang out together, we have a couple beers together, we ride together, he looks up to me like his father. He tells me his problems, I've known him for 25 plus years. He has been a rider on my elite team. He is a rider on my master's team. He has been a faithful employee of Santiago Castillo for over 10 years and words can't explain the loss for Jawmeighan."

And it is a loss we all feel. Here at 7News we've interacted with Jawmeighan so many times over the past two decades - and later on we'll look at his legacy as a cyclist and a two time cross country champion.

Ernest Jawmeighan Meighan, dead at 43.

Jawmaine, A Unique Talent

Ernest Meighan was one of those very few national figures who went by just one name - just say "Jawmeighan" and everybody would know exactly who you were talking about. More than that, you'd know what to expect because he came to prominence in a time when foreign cyclists dominated Cross Country: and Jawmeighan was one of the few Belizeans who could always hold his own against the foreign riders. So, he was, in effect, our Belizean manhood out there on the Western Highway - defending

Of course, he didn't just ride the cross, country, he rode all races, and was still competitive at the time of his murder. But what made him so good? We asked some of his peers today:..

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"Jawmeighan is one of the few talents in Belize; probably Jawmeighan and Marlon Castillo had they been drafted by a professional team when they were 18 years old they could have both made it to the Tour de France. I am so serious about that statement."

"I've been around cycling as a cyclist, as a coach and a cycling enthusiast, a commentator. Jawmeighan is in my view the best cyclist I have ever seen in my particular year."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"He has a whole bunch of nicknames that probably the public doesn't even know about. First of all they use to call him "baawee" where did that come from? That came from the ambulance. Anytime you hear the ambulance "wee baawee" he is behind the ambulance because no one else was around. So they gave him that name "baawee." They use to call him "cleks cleks" because when he change the gear you hear "clek" - Jawmeighan gone. By the time you look around Jawmeighan is gone."

"They called him the "golden bwoy." They called him "bridget," "soloman." The amount of nicknames he had was unbelievable."

"From Jawmeighan was a kid, he came by the bike shop and he had a little small BMX that he use to ride up and down and he eventually got a used racing bike and I saw this kid keeping up with senior riders and I said this guy had talent, so he said Mr. Ordonez, I really want to ride but I don't have a good bike. I said don't worry, with your talent you will get a sponsor soon and he had his neighbor Mr. Mera Castillo, he called me and he said I have a kid by the name of Jawmeighan and he said that he wants to ride, he said should I invest in him and I said go all out. That kid will be a champion someday."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"That guy was unbelievably talented and on top of that he was not conceited, he was humble. He was a guy that was willing to impart his knowledge."

"He had too much talent. It's sad that we couldn't get him out the country at the time. I haven't seen talent in any other Belizean cyclist as I've seen in Jawmeighan being in Criterium, in hill climbing, time trial - he was the only all around cyclist that I saw in that discipline being that he could have pace, he could have chase, he could have sprint. He was the fastest man on two wheels in Belize. So Jawmeighan is a cyclist in Belize. You cannot compare him to no one else."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend of the Deceased
"He won the two cross countries; 1997 which I will give due respect for. He won that and at that time he was riding for BELCHI, it was right after that I drafted him. In 2001 he won under the Santino's banner when the very powerful Jose Robles, Jawmeighan and Andrew Smiling got away around Cheers and ran all the way to Belize just the three of them and Jawmeighan cross the line first and the first words out of his mouth, in fact, the only two times I've cried for Jawmeighan was when he dies yesterday and when he cross the line in 2001 he hollered 'weh mi boss deh, weh mi chief deh?' and he went straight to me and he hug me up and said 'dis da fi yuh' and tears just came out of my eyes. He was unparalleled when it came to the cycling world and every single cyclist out there knows it."

Tomorrow, we'll have more on Jawmeighan's record and legacy. His funeral will be this Friday at 2:00pm at the Central Assembly of God followed by his interment at his father's grave at the Lord Ridge Cemetery.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
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Police Discuss Meighan Murder

Yesterday, we told you about the murder of cycling icon, 42 year-old Ernest "Jawmeighan" Meighan, which happened just before midday on Saturday. His family, friends and fans all across the country continue to mourn his loss as they try to make sense of his murder.

Shortly after he was killed in front of his girlfriend's house on George Street on Saturday at noon, Social media lit up with theories about the motive of his execution-style slaying. We caught up with the Officer Commanding Eastern Division's Criminal Investigation Branch today, and we asked him about a few of them. Here's what he said.

Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., Crimes Investigation Branch
"Saturday police responded to a report of a shooting incident at the area of George Street. Police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw the lifeless body of Ernest Meighan with one apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, what have you guys found out so far since the development of this shooting death?"

Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., Crimes Investigation Branch
"So far, we have conducted several interviews. We've detained some persons and we are working on this case vigorously. At this moment we cannot ascertain a motive, we have several theories that we are following up on."

"Initially one of those theories was that it may have been some form of retaliation for the murder of Chryslin Gladden. What led the police to initially believe...?"

Supt. Hilberto Romero
"Like I said, based on the intelligence that we are getting from the streets, interviews that are being conducted, that is one of the theories that we are following up upon."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, is it another lead that you are looking on the murder of the gentleman Mr. Raheem Crawford?"

Supt. Hilberto Romero
"Again that's a theory we are also following up on. We continue with the interviews and recording statements and at the end of the day we ae asking for the public support. They can call the 922 TIPS and pass on the information so that we can follow this up and try to solve this murder."

Meighan was the father of 7 children, and he rode professionally for over 20 years. Later on, we'll show you a few of his many stellar moments on the road.

Jawmaine Is Missed, Mourned For

But, before we get to that, what are regular folks saying about the slaying? It is a murder which has cast a long shadow across all of society because Ernest Meighan was a national sporting icon. Today, our intern Robin Schaffer went to Albert Streets to find out what people think about the sportsman's cruel end:..

Interviewee #1
"Jawmeighan was a good friend of mine and he was a very good young man, wherever I meet him he never passes me without greet me. So they really took a good man's life away."

Interviewee #2
"I feel bad, He is my good friend and one of Belize's best cyclist and I don't think he deserve to die like that. They don't respect our icons anymore."

Interviewee #3
"I feel really bad about it as a sport athlete because lately like a lot of sport athlete is dying. We have to try put a stop to it because it really doesn't make sense right now what is happening in Belize."

Interviewee #4
"I felt very close to him because my father was a cyclist himself, so that's the reason I am a lover of the cross country race. But I must say that I'm totally shock and disappointed at the police's reaction to this major icon on our society being murdered."

Interviewee #5
"I feel very bad about it because in 2007 I lost my son and Jawmeighan was very close to us, so we feel very bad about what's happening with the killing on a whole."

Interviewee #6
"We were so sorry to hear about it. We are just visiting and we heard about it on the news and in New York we follow the Holy Saturday races and so we knew his name. We felt so bad about it and sorry to hear that it happened."

Interviewee #7
"I am very sad because as artist I feel that when we have cultural icons like him because he is an athlete but he is a cultural icon - that they can just be slayed like that I think we reach a point in Belize, it's the high of melting or destruction."

Interviewee #8
"I don't approve of what they did to him because I don't think Belize people should be killing out each other like that especially with the time of the violence, the drugs and the gun, they should put it down and start something fresh."

Interviewee #7
"I am sure in American nobody would just slay a LeBron James just like that or somebody in Brazil would just slay Pele. Its sort a reverence that I think that we are lacking towards our athletes our heroes."

Interviewee #9
"My personal opinion on the whole scenario is I guess bad things happens to good people sometimes."

Interviewee #10
"He was a good role model and for him to lose his life like that for something which he had nothing to do with. I fully agree that this business of "if you can't catch Harry, you catch his shirt" is outrageous."

Interviewee #11
"If you live by the gun, you die by the gun, Jawmeighan did live by any gun. Jawmeighan was a nice rider, he went outside and he did well for Belize and I like how Jawmeighan appreciate himself and did good things. I am vex that they killed him. If you can't catch Harry, don't catch his shirt."

Interviewee #12
"I think it's really sad. He has done a lot for Belize. It's hard to talk about it but it's really sad."

Interviewee #13
"It's sad to know that so many children left without a father right now, so we lose a great warrior and the best Belize ever had."

Again, stay tuned for more about Jawmaine later as look back at his two cross country victories.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Jawmeighan Laid To Rest

6 days ago Ernest Jawmaine Meighan became the first Cross Country champion to be murdered. And today, the 43 year old became one of the very, very few champions to be buried while still a relatively young man - and still a competitive cyclist. Today, family, friends and supporters filled all the seats in the Central Assembly of God Church on Freetown Road.

7News was there when the different speakers reflected on the life and accomplishments of the man called "Jawmeighan". Here's a few snippets of what they had to say:

Fitzgerald "Palas" Joseph - Fellow Rider
"I want to believe that the cycling races are in heaven now and hope has gone. Elbert Hope has gone, Ellis, Dangalang Thurton - all Santino's riders. Now I believe that the Belizean riders are waiting in heaven by the former riders. And Dangalang who loves and adores Jawmeighan may have spoken to the Lord and ask the Lord to please Jawmeighan to heaven because we cannot breed these guys."

Kwame Scott - Cycling Race Promoter
"Of course we all know the golden bwoy, yes heard "baawee," we heard "bridget," but let me touch two that weren't so common. One was "flavor" and that was because in the peak of his career he use to ride with perfume or cologne soaked handkerchief inside his back pocket. Did you know that Santi? And also most recently he used to purchase African oils from myself and whenever I was out of oils he would scolded me, he said you need to get some more because those are the things that makes me smell like a champion should smell."

Andrew Ordonez - Mentored JawMeighan
"Jawmeighan use to come but before each major race to eat Miss Debbie special made lasagna and a huge veggie salad."

Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education & Sports
"On behalf of the government and people of Belize to place on record our gratitude for the life of Ernest Jawmeighan Meighan . He has been an icon in the sporting world, I am sure that you will all agree. I thank the family for having loan his to us as a nation, in service to this nation and we hope that his spirit will live on and that other young people can see him as a role model."

Dion Leslie - President, Cycling Federation of Belize
"We lost what Belize had the closest to a superstar and that was Jawmeighan. He was all LeBron James, he was all Michael Jordan and we've been getting condolences from around the globe from those he has competed with internationally from the US, Mexico, Guatemala - they've all called, email us expressing their sincere condolences."

Hon. Santiago Castillo Jr. - Friend and Mentor To JawMeighan
"Like all previous speakers if I was to give a reflection on Jawmeighan we wouldn't bury him until around Sunday. So intead I am going to read a poem I wrote for him on Wednesday night which is behind the brochure; once a day and sometimes more, you knocked upon my door, and I say come on in jaw, I am glad you are here with me my friend. Then we sit and have a usual chat, recalling this, discussing that. Then I realize it's just a dream, sometimes life can be so mean. There are worldwide landscapes we like, while we travelled all over and peddled our bike, so many international friends we met from, from Guate, Nicaragua, USA, to Chet. And after a few years, your reputation was known, you had made your mark, it was written in stone. So now in death they send their goodbye, many of them not afraid to cry. While here in Belize, the country is mad, we lost a hero, a champ. It's so sad. But God has better plans for you Ellis, Ariel and Danga, di wait for you too. So goodbye my friend, my brother, my son while you were here, it was the greatest fun."

Police: Jawmeighan's Murder Was A Hit

And while the cycling family and the wider community grieves for Jawmaine, the police are trying to find his killer. They have a suspect, but it is not a person well known to police - and reports suggest it could be a minor sent by a gang to kill Meighan, as he left his girlfriend's house in broad daylight on George Street last Saturday.

Police today said conclusively that it was a hit set up by the George Street Gang. Here's the lead investigator:..

Sgt. Isaias Sanchez, Precinct 1 - CIB
"What we have confirmed so far is that the dead of Mr. Meighan was a motive of gang rivalry. Raheem Crawford who was shot and killed on the same morning on the said date…that could have been one of the motive for the execution of Mr. Meighan. As the police had impounded a vehicle belonging to the Meighan family I guess that had brought an alarm to the friends or associates to the deceased and it could be the main motive of this incident."

"Mr. Crawford is a known associate of the George Street gang. As a matter of fact he has been one of the main associate in the George Street gang and the area where the incident happen has an important role to play in this investigation."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it hard trying to get the support of the community because obviously major under world players are involve in an execution of a prominent national figure?"

Sgt. Isaias Sanchez, Precinct 1 - CIB
"I must say that the investigation is indeed challenging because of the area where the incident occurred - George Street and people are very reluctant. They are not too willing to cooperate. I am hoping that this is an incident to the country. As a matter of fact we are placing all our resources as much as we could in order to solve this incident and hope and trust that soon we might have that person in custody."

Meighan was killed with a single shot to the back of the head from a nine millimeter pistol. Only one expended shell was found on the scene.

Channel 7

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