Motorcyclist gunned down while riding bike

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UPDATE: Suspect charged in biker’s murder

MADISON COUNTY, IL (KTVI) -At first, police thought it was a traffic crash: a man on the ground near his motorcycle near Granite City, around 3:43 Sunday morning. It turned out to be a murder scene.

The victim's loved ones said the gunman had no idea of the pain he'd caused.

“Once you met him, you loved him,” Joe Mayes said of the victim, his uncle, Travis Mayes, 43.  “Anything you needed he was there for you. If he had $5 in his pocket and you needed it, he’d give it you.  If you needed 15, he’d give you the five and go find the other 10 for you.”

He said Travis was more like a brother to him.

Travis Mayes’ friends, Chris McNeish and Steve Simpson, felt the same way.

“He’d do anything for you,” Simpson said.

“That’s how Steve met him, a barbecue at my house.  He built [Steve] a bike … a $40,000-$50,000 bike.  It was beautiful,” McNeish said.

They speculated the gunman might have shot Travis Mayes in a jealous rage over a woman.

“The old days, you’d just fight and it was over with.  Now, young kids always want to pull a gun or shoot,” McNeish said.

They said it appeared the suspect shot Mayes as he was riding.

It happened on Nameoki Road near Harrison Avenue just outside the Granite City, city limits, down the road from Mayes’ house.  The fun-loving Mayes was on his way home from work at the Rust Bucket Saloon.

Illinois State Police said a Madison County sheriff’s deputy found Mayes’ motorcycle; Mayes was on the ground next to it; minutes later, police got a 911 call saying Mayes had been shot.

It appears Mayes died from a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

Investigators did not confirm the suspected motive.

“We don’t know all the details yet.  I know people have gone through this before but that’s probably one of the worst things:  you don’t know – you don’t know,” Joe Mayes said, fighting tears.

Mayes leaves behind a son and daughter and a couple other young people for whom he was a father figure.

“All I know is I’ve got another angel riding with me,” Joe Mayes said.

Police arrested a 22 year old suspect at his home Sunday.  He is in custody awaiting formal charges, which will likely come Monday.

A  benefit fund for Mayes’ daughter Chandra and son Cody and to help with funeral expenses has been established. Click here for a link.

A Pontoon Beach man was found shot to death next to this motorcycle early Sunday, May 18.

A Pontoon Beach man was found shot to death next to this motorcycle early Sunday, May 18.

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  • Carolyn Putney

    What does gun rights have anything to do with this? It always seems it’s the criminal with the gun doing the dastardly act. If you take away the right to bear arms, the criminals will always be the ones to still have guns. There is no fairness in that. If someone came in to your home with a gun, you’d be wishing you had something better than a ball bat to defend you and your family. I don’t hear of criminals shouting for the right to bear arms; it is the law abiding citizens. The right to protect themselves from the criminals.
    The bigger issue is what it is that is making people think that the best way to handle any dispute is with deadly force? What it is we are teaching our children via the programs, video games, etc., they are allowed to watch. Don’t like someone, for whatever reason gets your goat, just kill them. Problem solved. The real effects of that action do not get represented. If crime shows can show the murder, maybe they should follow through and show what life in prison, or someone being put to death, looks like. There are results for criminal behavior. They don’t see that part. Perhaps they should.

    • Jane

      Carolyn, you are exactly right, you sound like an honest, sensible American citizen. Hat’s off to your comments! God Bless America!

  • Tonya Lovell Hatter

    Are these post even happening? a person is dead and some scum bag lil boy with a gun is the cause, hes gonna love being someones knew lil girlfriend in jail, gotta love Granite………..

  • Fred Bear

    Caleb is no angel and was having his head messed with by the girl who was trying to have her cake and eat it to. What he did was stupid but everyone doesn’t know that the victim was also making threats to him. Caleb is a good father and that is the saddest thing here is two families have lost fathers. Again I say this man did not deserve to die, I just don’t like to see people post about the 22 yr old scumbag because I know Caleb and he is not a scumbag he is a hard working father that was pushed over the edge.

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