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Jan 18, 2017

15-Year-Old Jaheem Mahler Ruthlessly Killed

Jaheem Mahler

The latest victim to fall to the vicious cycle of crime in the south side of the city is only fifteen-years-old. Jaheem Mahler, a student, was riding his bicycle on Iguana Street Extension when he was targeted. As many as nine bullets found their mark on the young man, who from many accounts is not involved with gang warfare. His grieving grandmother with whom he lived is at a loss as to the motive for the murder of yet another family member. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Staiye Cayetano

Staiye Cayetano, Cousin of Deceased

“He didn’t really do anything to anybody to make that happen to him, so I don’t know why it happened to him.  But, God took him for a reason and the reason and the reason is gonna come out sooner or later.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The murder of a fifteen-year-old student in Belize City has left the Faber’s Road community in shock.  Jaheem Mahler had only just left home on bicycle moments earlier and was reportedly on an errand with a friend when he came under gunfire in the vicinity of Iguana Street Extension.  When the teen failed to return as expected, his grandmother grew concerned and was about to go looking for him when she was met with word of the tragedy.

 

Yolanda Montejo, Grandmother of Deceased

“When I see, I tell the dad, I said, “How come Jaheem noh come yet?”  I said, “Let me go look for him.”  At the same time I was walking out through the door the young man that was with him came and said, “Where’s Jamal?”  I said, “Inside.”  Ih seh, “Oh, dehn just now shot up Jaheem!”  Ah seh, “Oh my God! Noh tell me dat!”  Ah seh, “Ih dead?”  Ih seh, “Ah noh know”  So ah seh, “Weh” And dah so ih tell we di areas.  Ah seh well yoh haffi ker me cause I noh really know di areas, and dah so he ker we.  Dehn mi already tek him to di hospital, my ex daughter-in-law was there.  She was the one that took him to the hospital with the police.”

 

Jamal, as he was otherwise known, had been shot multiple times to the body.  His assailant firing as many as nine rounds at him.  Investigators revisited the scene of the deadly attack earlier today in search of clues.  Here’s what they’ve found so far.

 

Alejandro Cowo

Supt. Alejandro Cowo, Officer Commanding CIB

“We were on the ground this morning and we are getting a little bit of headway.  At this moment they have several persons that are being interviewed at this time.  Yes we have a person of interest detained but we are looking for two other persons that definitely can assist us in the investigation.  In regards to the weapon that was found last night, we matched it in our system, however, it has not shown any reflection that it has been reported stolen or otherwise, you know.”

 

In the wake of the incident, aspersions have been cast that it may have been a gang-related homicide.

 

Yolanda Montejo

Yolanda Montejo

“My grandson is not a gang member.  He is not in red or blue or whatever color you want to think.  My grandson don’t go nowhere.  My grandson just go across the neighbor, back home or upstairs.”

 

And when he wasn’t at home, he was attending classes at the Gateway Youth Center.  Jaheem was also big on community involvement.  During the Christmas Season he assisted with an annual party organized by residents of the Fabers Road area.

 

Edmund Staine

Edmund Staine, Community Activist

“I always saw him as a youth with a bright spark, you know.  He wasn’t one of the guys that would be out there shooting anybody or robbing anybody, you know.  And it’s tough because we were just getting him in a program to have him learn to do electrical and some welding so that he could have been somebody, you know.  He was enthused about the program and everything and it’s sad to see that his life was taken in this manner mein.  It’s really, really heart wrenching because we all are trying so hard to keep these kids together, you know.  He was one of the guys with the Christmas party we had, he was one of the kids that actually helped us, you know.”

 

At present, Belize City police are unable to determine a motive for Mahler’s execution.

 

Fitzroy Yearwood

Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood, Media Officer, Belize Police Department

“What we have established so far about the victim is that he is a fifteen-year-old student.  As to grouping or gang-related, we cannot speak on that at this time.  But like I said, the investigators have not fallen asleep, they have not gone to sleep since this murder took place.  They are currently on the ground canvassing for possible witnesses or people who may just help us with identifying the perpetrator of that crime.”

 

Perhaps the most disturbing twist of fate for this grieving grandmother is that another of her grandchildren perished in similar fashion.  Jaheem’s cousin, eight-year-old Marquise Mahler, was also slain in a hail of bullets in July 2010.

 

Yolanda Montejo

“I would always sit and talk to Jaheem and say, “Jaheem, you know something, I don’t want you on the street.”  I said, “You know why?  You know I have my first grandson that got shot when he was eight-years-old and now I wouldn‘t want anything to happen to you now because then, you know, too much crime is happening in Belize right now.”

 

The close relatives would have been the same age. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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