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Jun 6, 2016

Well-known Belizean Artist John Jay is Killed in Dangriga

John Jay Rodriguez

There was another death in the south. A sixteen year old minor is currently detained by Dangriga police for Friday night’s murder of a well known artist in the culture capital. John Jay Rodriguez was killed during a robbery attempt at a gambling den, which he visited routinely on Friday nights. The Dangriga community as well as the music industry is stunned at the loss of one of their own. News Five’s Duane Moody reports on the tragic death of Rodriguez.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Well-known Belizean artist John Jay Rodriguez was murdered on Friday night in Dangriga. Rodriguez was at Havana Club, a popular gambling spot that he frequented, when a robbery at the establishment turned deadly. As he played one of the electronic gambling machines along with three other patrons, three men—one armed with a nine millimeter gun—entered and demanded money, but were denied entry by the cashier on duty. In the aftermath of the foiled robbery, the gunman fired a single shot at the patrons. Thirty-eight year old Stanley Venai was grazed on the neck and he survived, but that same bullet caught Rodriguez on the left side of the face and killed him.

 

Roy Joseph

Supt. Roy Joseph, O.C., Dangriga Police

“At eleven-fifteen p.m., Dangriga police were called out to the Havana Game Shop situated here in Dangriga on Havana Street where upon arrival, the apparent lifeless body of a male was observed lying in a pool of blood with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. Mister Rodriguez was at the establishment at the time when three males entered, one was armed with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded that the cashier opened a door. When the cashier refused, the gunmen tried to open the door by kicking on it. When they were unable to, the man that was armed fired a single shot. This shot hit another male who was in the area at the time and it is believe also that that was the same bullet that ended up causing the fatal injury to Mister Rodriguez.”

 

Victoria Evans, Common-law-Wife

“He mi di lie down on a stretcher. Dehn mi just ker we deh fi mek we gone see ahn and identify ahn and stuff like that. He mi deh ina blood and thing. Ih mi still have on ih working clothes cause ih mi lately come off from work.”

 

A senseless murder – John Jay was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Originally from Hopkins Village in the south, he was employed at Quality Poultry Products in Dangriga for over twelve years, working deliveries until his untimely death. Black bows adorn the business establishment as employees mourn the death of one of their own.

 

Jean Boehmer

Jean Boehmer, Quality Poultry Express Chicken

“I have known John Jay all his years here. He was a great worker, he’s a great person. Sweet, loving; always joyful. He did live with my family for six years also during some of his years here in Dangriga. He’s just a wonderful person.”

 

That is why relatives and close friends rushed to the scene and the hospital in disbelief, hoping that it wasn’t true; that their loved one had been murdered.

 

Victoria Evans

Victoria Evans

“I mi di sleep di time when I get fi find out. I even drop off of my bed and buss my knee and thing. It was shocking. I stand up dah the door fi make dehn tell me weh happen and stuff like that. Nobody couldn’t tell me weh happen and when I come out yah dah then my brother-in-law dehn tell me weh gone on and I neva believe it. I even gone dah the morgue and I mi deh deh di hold ih hand and I still mi can’t believe that he gone like that because when I see ahn that night dah like ih still living and stuff like that.”

 

Lionel “Lyrical” Thompson

Lionel “Lyrical” Thompson, South Blaze

“We got a text and the text was saying that John got shot and he died, but I didn’t want to believe it. I got one phone call to see if I can get some info on that, but the response was that they didn’t hear anything like that. So I started to wonder a little bit. I got dressed, she called a taxi and at that time, I went on the verandah, was just waiting out and I saw my friend coming around the corner; he works at the hospital. So from the time I saw that vehicle I knew he was coming to see me to tell me the same thing that I was trying to keep in my head it is not so, it’s not so.”

 

Rodriguez left work on Friday night and was supposed to be at Sabal Studio Productions, but ended up on Havana Street. Along with Silas Sabal and another artist, Rodriguez just recently recorded a hip-hop track for his latest album that was soon to be release.

 

Silas Sabal

Silas Sabal, Producer/Artist

“Last two weeks Friday, John Jay was here at Sabal Studio Productions and him, I and also Galiecha the Lion, who I have been working with, we collaborated on a song called Party Tun Up. John Jay was right here sitting on the chair over that corner and while sitting planning this song, I made the beat and suddenly all of us became exciting and we said this song is coming to a reality.”

 

John Jay rocked the Bliss Stage in 2014 in Channel Five’s If You Can Sing It Bring Season One, making it all the way to the semi-finals as the top four singers in the competition. His passion for music and vocal talent still resonate among viewers and Belizean artists.  His music career, however, started from a very young age, when he was inspired by Michael Jackson.

 

John Jay Rodriguez [August 2014]

“I saw a video from Michael Jackson the first time and that was when I realized that shucks I just love that; that just grab my attention. And so I ventured into try singing with my sisters when I was at home coming up. I say to myself, but I feel like I could sing. I sing ina the bathroom, I sing and everywhere I go, I try do wah lee thing and I just felt that pulling from where I saw that Michael Jackson video. That was exactly when I started to do music and from then I carried on. I did karaoke shows and different things. I won a couple of karaoke shows and also I ventured into getting to meet artists after a while and Supa G. I met different artists like Ras Indio. We did some song; I did songs with different artists here in the country and I was with Supa G for a while.”

 

That collaboration with Supa G yielded some hit songs such as “Hold You” back in 2005. Hurricane in the Club, Belizean Girls and It’s Over are several other songs with the General himself. It’s a huge loss to Dangriga and the music industry, says Supa G.

 

Supa G

Supa G, Belizean Artist

“A huge, huge loss. We really can’t explain it as well, but it is a huge loss not just to the music industry but the entire Dangriga. That’s a vocal genius. John Jay will take any song and make it sound better than you actually have it, you the song writer. An excellent, talented youth; he knows exactly what to do with certain type of toning. He would know exactly how to put it and make it sound much better. We started like in 2002. We did so many songs, but the Hold You was actually one of our biggest collab. Working with John Jay was a great experience because I learnt a lot vocal-wise from him.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

On Thursday at the B.T.L. Princess Royal Park, a Golden Voice Karaoke Tribute in memory of Rodriguez will be held. The body of Rodriguez will be laid to rest in his home village of Hopkins on Friday.

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