Lexington police investigate two holiday homicides

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Statistically, this is already one of the deadliest years on record in Lexington with two more homicides over the holiday.

Lexington’s Chief of Police Lawrence Weathers says though no one’s been arrested for the two deadly shootings, he does not believe there is any threat to the city, and says in both cases he believes the victim and suspect knew each other.

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“Lexington is a safe city and unfortunately some people make some choices that are unsafe,” says Chief Weathers.

A Christmas Eve shooting, followed by another shooting Christmas day, leaves two young men dead.

Police say 21-year old Jonathan Meristil was shot and killed at his apartment near UK’s campus off Transylvania Park Christmas Eve morning.

The coroner says Meristil was shot multiple times.

“He’s definitely one of my best friends. He’s an amazing kid I mean he’s been there for me through all kinds of stuff. I mean anytime I needed anything I could call him,” says Sam Coates about Meristil.

Coates says Meristil is from Haiti but had lived in Lexington for most of his life.

The Tates Creek High School graduate was studying graphic design. Coates say he was extremely talented.

“He didn’t deserve any of the things that happened to him,” says Coates.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Meristil’s family pay for his funeral.

“He’s gonna be missed,” says Coates.

Less than 30 hours later, police say 23-year-old Bertin Garcia-Jimenez was shot at an apartment complex off Alexandria Drive.

The coroner says he died from his injuries around 2 pm Christmas day.

Police are asking for the public’s help in both cases.

“Generally, there are people who know what’s going on and we need those people to come forward and tell us what’s going on,” says Chief Weathers.

With less than a week left in 2019, the city has already tied a record for homicides in a year since record-keeping began, with 28 total.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.