MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich (July 3, 2014) — “They say you have to forgive, that the heart helps forgive, but this I’ll never forgive,” said Chris Hotz, the father of Jake Rameau who died after being shot and crashing his motorcycle in Muskegon Heights June 26th.
Jake’s father and brother, Erich McLaughlin, sat down with FOX 17 Thursday, just one day after the 26-year-old was buried at a funeral attended by more than 600 people, according to Hotz.
“The magnitude of people, it was just amazing”, Hotz said. “After a while I couldn’t do anything but look down to tell you the truth… but when I got up and looked around I couldn’t believe it.”
The support almost as overwhelming for Hotz as having to bury his son, something he never thought he’d have to do.
“I buried my mother five years ago, and that was tough,” he said. “It’s nothing compared to this.”
Rameau crashed his motorcycle in the 2400 block of Peck Street at about 2 a.m. June 26 after being shot. He was chasing down his brother’s stolen car, according to Hotz.
On Wednesday Dashawn Andrew Boylan, a person of interest in the shooting of Jake Rameau, was arraigned on other charges.
The 25-year-old was charged Tuesday with unlawful driving away of an automobile, according to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office.
He allegedly stole the car that Rameau was chasing in Muskegon Heights the night of his death, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tim Maat said.
Calling the entire incident ‘senseless,’ Hotz said his son died a hero.
“He died an honorable man,” he said. “He was doing what he thought was right to get his brother’s car back.”
Rameau’s brother, Erich, adding the 4-year-old daughter Jake leaves behind was the ‘most important thing in his whole life.’
“He lit up every time he saw that little girl, it didn’t matter what happened to him,” McGlaughlin said. “He was there for her.”
A memorial fundraiser is planned in Rameau’s honor for Friday July 11 at 5 p.m. at The Playground, Stony Lake in New Era. A Facebook page with more information on the fundraiser can be found here.
Ali Nichols, a family friend who is helping to organize the event said they already have more than 900 people committed and are expecting more than 1,500 to attend.
Nichols said they’ve received more than $5,000 in donated items for the auction and silent auction, and 11 local bands that Rameau had previously played with are also booked to perform.