BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 15, 2021– On Monday night, devastation struck a family on Cleghorn Street in Belize City when their loved one was gunned down in front of them. Twenty-two-year-old Jerome McLaren was shot and killed in his own yard after 8:00 p.m. in front of a number of children and his mother. Reports indicate that McLaren had just finished a game of basketball on a court in his yard, and was sitting on a scooter when an individual rode up on a motorcycle, stepped into the yard and fired several shots in his direction.
McLaren would subsequently succumb to his injuries, leaving his mother, Sharon Cocom, questioning why anyone would like to target her son. During an interview, she recounted the tragic sequence of events and described her own reaction as she witnessed the murder of her own child.
“I hear gunshots, so I threw myself backwards. After that I decided to peek out to check and see who get shot. When I looked, I saw a man, I didn’t see his face or anything. I just saw a silver gun he was pushing in his side, and he was walking out of the yard. And I ran to 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 his mouth and he was gasping for breath, and I said ‘Jerome, ask God for forgiveness, Jerome, repent Jerome, ask God to forgive you,’” the grieving mother said.
At this point, as the end of the week draws near, there have still been no arrests for the murder of McLaren, and the police have yet to establish a motive for the shooting. Supt. Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Eastern Division, explained that Jerome did have run-ins with the police, but nothing that he believes would escalate to such a violent death. He also stated that they are conducting interviews in an effort to establish a motive:
“We spoke to different persons that were there and also family members to inquire from them if at any time Mister McLaren had been threatened or anything that he had gone through with anybody in the past days or maybe past a year, but up to now we cannot give you a definite motive as to why he was shot,” he said.
McLaren will be remembered by his mother as a son who was helpful and always took care of her. According to her, McLaren was also a skilled boxer and represented Belize in a tournament held in Costa Rica two years ago.
While being interviewed, she sent a message to the culprit:
“You take my Jerome from me; you take my son from me, and because you take my son from me, I am claiming you as my son in the name of Jesus Christ.”