MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Perhaps what best demonstrates the character of Jake Rameau — the man shot and killed on June 26 while chasing a car thief — is that friends and family had to find a bigger venue to hold a memorial fundraiser.
Rameau, 26, was well-known in some circles in Muskegon.
He played softball, rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle and was the lead singer in a local rock band called Lakeshore Drive.
“He always had a microphone in his hand,” friend Dave Cummins said.
That was the case the night Rameau died. This time, he was singing karaoke with his brother, Chris Hotz Jr., at DJ’s Pub & Grill in Muskegon, according to a bartender who worked that night. They got there after 11 p.m.
Friends and family say they were leaving the bar just before closing on June 26 when a thief took off with Rameau’s brother’s car. Relatives say Rameau gave chase on his Harley.
“He always stuck up for his family. Anything that happened to any of his brothers, he’s going after them,” Cummins said.
It’s not clear what route the chase took, but it ended less than a mile and a half away on Peck Street in Muskegon Heights.
Jimmy Purnell and his wife were sleeping about 2 a.m. when they heard commotion outside. They never heard shots. They found Rameau and his Harley in their front yard. It appeared the bike had hit the curb before he was thrown.
“His bike was there, and he ended up there, so we thought he just lost control and just fell,” Purnell said, pointing to white paint used by evidence technicians to mark the spots.
Purnell’s wife held Rameau’s hand. They didn’t see a bullet wound and didn’t see blood.
“She was actually talking to him. He wasn’t saying anything,” Purnell said. “She was talking to him while he was dying. We saw him take his last breath.”
A few days later, they learned he had been shot.
“It’s sad, sad something like this could happen,” Purnell said. “The shootings around here are getting out of hand. We just need to get all these guns off the street. Kids can’t go out and play like they used to.”
Police arrested 25-year-old Dashawn Boylan for allegedly stealing the car. They have identified him as a person of interest in the homicide.
A memorial fundraiser for Rameau’s family will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, July 11, at The Playground, an outdoor concert venue at 7979 West Park Road in New Era.