Jamiel Shaw, Jr’s Burial Coincides with Alleged Killer’s Capture
On a beautiful Southern California school day, Jamiel Shaw, Jr., the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Los Angeles High School and the school’s conference, should have been on the track field where he also competed as a sprinter. Beads of sweat would be emerging from his forehead and his chiseled athletic body would likely out-pace his teammates.
Sadly however, for his family, friends, classmates, teammates and others, Jamiel’s body now laid motionless in the casket in the chapel of West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
Prepared for permanent placement in a mausoleum at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, Jamiel’s family, also dressed in white-attire, were forced to endure the most difficult and heart-wrenching life-experience we all must eventually face, the death of a loved-one.
Jamiel’s mother, Army Sergeant Anita Shaw, father, Jamiel, Sr., and brother Thomas, were joined this week by many of the city’s elected officials, community and civil rights leaders, and a host of others, to pay tribute to, and celebrate the short life of the affable, college-bound football star who was gunned-down less than two weeks ago, a few steps from his home, on 5th Avenue in Los Angeles.
On the day Jamiel was buried, a 19-year-old suspect, Pedro Espinoza, who police described as a member of an 18th Street gang, was formally charged with the capital murder. He was one of two individuals in the vehicle who opened fire and killed Shaw, when he failed to answer whether he was a member of a gang.
Few realized, as the final service was taking place, that charges against the suspect were being filed and included a special circumstance allegation that could lead to the death penalty. Apparently, the prosecutors are alleging that the accused is “an active participant in a criminal street gang and the murder was carried out to further the activities of the criminal street gang.”
Willis Edwards, National NAACP board member, who also attended the funeral service said, “the sanctuary was filled with Jamiel’s classmates and nearly all of the well-known community and civil rights leaders. It was an emotional service.”
He was particularly moved by Jamiel’s father’s remarks, saying, “I will dedicate the rest of my life fighting against gangs.” Willis added, “With his father’s commitment, the entire community should stand together and once and for all, stop saying what we are going to do to stop senseless gang killing but, start doing something to protect our children!”
It is unclear whether the arresting police officers and detectives have identified the accused killer’s accomplice or whether any additional members of the 18th Street gang, who may have helped plan the murder, may also face charges associated with this senseless and cowardly, destruction of Jamiel’s young life.
With football scholarship offers potentially in the works for Jamiel at Stanford and Rutgers Universities, among the most prestigious in the Pac 10 and Big East football conferences respectively, his athletic talents may have provided an opportunity for a college education and eventually allowed him to enter the National Football League (NFL) or achieve even more significant accomplishments.
As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and another football season comes and goes, the community may lose sight of the very special occasion of Jamiel’s final services at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. The community may shift its attention perhaps to mourn the loss of yet another young man or woman to senseless gang-related violence.
Those who knew Jamiel however, will never forget the final day his body was laid to rest. They will probably think often about a special memory they have or a moment they shared with Jamiel, a spectacular maneuver he accomplished on the football field, or a kind gesture he extended to a fellow athlete, a family member, a classmate, or just a friend.
It will offer little solace for them to remember that on that special day of his funeral service and celebration of life that his alleged killer was also formally charged for his murder and, if convicted, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.