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Memorial fund, events planned in memory of Friday Harbor shooting victim

Friends of Jermaine Reaves hang a sketch of him on a memorial banner overlooking Sunken Park, Monday. Reaves died early Sunday from a gunshot wound to the chest. His brother is being held for questioning.    - Scott Rasmussen
Friends of Jermaine Reaves hang a sketch of him on a memorial banner overlooking Sunken Park, Monday. Reaves died early Sunday from a gunshot wound to the chest. His brother is being held for questioning.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Friends of a Friday Harbor man who died from a shotgun wound to the chest early Sunday have organized a series of fund-raisers to help pay for his funeral expenses.

The Jermaine Reaves Memorial Fund has been established at Islanders Bank.

A potluck barbecue is scheduled Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Harbor Ridge neighborhood on Roche Harbor Road. Shannon Smith said donations to help pay for the cost of food are welcome, as are donations to the Jermaine Reaves Memorial Fund.

A fund-raiser is planned Friday, 6 p.m., at Bella Luna Restaurant. The event is open to the public.

On Sunday, American Legion Post 163 will host a spaghetti feed and silent auction, 3-6 p.m., downstairs.

And islanders are signing a banner that was displayed yesterday at Sunken Park, in remembrance of the 22-year-old.

Reaves' brother, Jawaad Darcelle Reaves, 21, is being held for questioning in San Juan County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court today at 4 p.m. to determine if enough evidence exists to warrant holding him until charges are filed. The prosecuting attorney's office has 72 hours to file charges.

At 2:40 a.m. Sunday, sheriff's deputies went to an apartment at 500 Tucker Ave. to investigate a domestic violence report believed made by a neighbor. When they arrived, they were met in the parking lot by Jawaad Reaves.

"He met the arriving units," Sheriff Bill Cumming said Sunday. "He was highly agitated and upset about the circumstances."

In the apartment, deputies found Jermaine Reaves mortally wounded with a gunshot wound to the chest. Reaves was taken by Airlift Northwest helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham, where he was pronounced dead.

In the apartment at the time were the Reaves' mother and a friend, Cumming said. The brothers lived together in the apartment, Cumming said. Also found in the apartment: A 20-gauge shotgun. Cumming believes Jermaine Reaves was shot once.

A 20-gauge shotgun is commonly used to hunt small game.

Jawaad Reaves was taken into custody at the scene. His attorney is Lawrence Delay.

Gabrielle Scott, a former islander now living in Chicago, today remembered Jermaine Reaves as “polite” and a “gentleman.”

“God rest his weary soul,” she wrote in an e-mail.

In a phone interview, she said, “He was a very polite young man who was trying to make his way in the world. He had had some problems but he was trying to make amends. He was only 21 years old. He hadn’t even started his life yet.”

Shannon Smith said she helped babysit the Reaves boys when they were elementary school age. She said they lived mostly in Seattle but spent a lot of time visiting the island.

"He was funny, he had a good heart, he was well liked," she said. "He will be missed a lot."

Sheriff Cumming remembered seeing Jermaine Reaves over the years. "My view from afar was he was a fairly friendly kid, always a smile, always friendly and approachable."

Diane McGriff, 26, described Jermaine as "always smiling, a happy guy," who taught her daughter, Joanna, to dance to Soulja Boy. She said he worked a variety of jobs at Bella Luna and China Pearl.

"Everyone who knew him knew he was the sweetest man," she said.

Friends knew about his legal problems — he had pleaded innocent to a charge that he had sex with a minor in July and was scheduled to go to trial Nov. 10.

"He was naive," McGriff said. "He said she told him she was 18. He said he should have thought about it, but that he couldn't change it and he didn't want people to think he was a bad guy. He knew he couldn't see his family, he couldn't see kids if he was charged with that."

McGriff said Jermaine lost his job and was faced with losing his car. "He was trying to get his life together," she said.

Besides Jawaad, Jermaine has two other brothers, ages 19 and 6; and a sister, 16.

McGriff described Jawaad as "street smart," "aware of life," and "quiet."

Christine Miller of Miller Drywall said Jawaad has worked for the company for a couple of years and is well-liked by his co-workers. If released on his own recognizance, he could return to work immediately, she said.

"He's a great worker, a hard worker. He's always been a great guy around us," she said. "He's happy go lucky, always smiling, always ready. The whole crew enjoyed him."

The Sheriff's Department is still investigating the domestic violence report that led deputies to the Reaves' apartment Sunday morning.

Miller said Jawaad had indicated that he and his brother were having problems. Recently, the two had a spat and Jermaine abandoned Jawaad at a 7-Eleven in Seattle. Jawaad missed work as a result, Miller said.

"We've heard so much about the not-so-good side of Jermaine," Miller said. "I'm sure others have heard about the not-so-good side of Jawaad."

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