Yore Jieng (Courtesy Des Moines Register)

Yore Thuok Jieng

Homicide

Yore Thuok Jieng
14 YOA
Keosauqua Way and 12th St.
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Shot October 24, 2016
Died October 29, 2016

 
Yore Thuok Jieng, a 14-year-old Roosevelt High School freshman, was shot in the head Oct. 24, 2016, by a stray bullet as he rode in a car with his sister near Keosauqua Way and 12th Street in Des Moines.

The following story, published Nov. 5, 2016 in the Des Moines Register, examins Yore Jieng’s life and death, and will serve here as his case summary.


‘He was full of dreams and potential’: 14-year-old homicide victim laid to rest

By Charly Haley, The Des Moines Register | Nov. 5, 2016

As a chorus of somber voices sang a hymn in a Sudanese dialect, sounds of loud, wailing crying could be heard in the church where 14-year-old Yore Jieng was remembered Saturday morning.

“The senseless nature of Yore’s death is unfair. It’s haunting,” the Rev. Minna Bothwell said during the funeral’s sermon. Her words were repeated in Nuer, a Sudanese dialect, by the Rev. Gideon Paul, as much of Jieng’s family is from Sudan.

Jieng died Oct. 29 after being hospitalized for nearly a week with a gunshot wound to his head. Jieng was shot the evening of Oct. 24 at 12th Street and Keosauqua Way as he sat in the passenger seat of a car driven by his sister. The gunshot came from outside of the car, and police have not identified any suspects.

Jieng did not do anything to provoke the shooting, police have said.

Though Jieng’s family and friends have been grieving since the shooting, they found a small semblance of closure Saturday as Jieng was laid to rest.

In the funeral at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church, Jieng was remembered as a kind, friendly boy who loved basketball and who brought people together.

“He was sweet, but he was strong. He was full of dreams and potential,” Bothwell said.

Jieng’s smile would light up a room, she said. His friendly personality brought people together at school, at the Oakridge Neighborhood where he lived, and at the many churches where he participated in activities.

His favorite basketball team was the Cleveland Cavaliers, so the team’s logo was printed with Jieng’s photo on the funeral programs.

“There’s not a single person who knew him who did not love him,” Bothwell said.

Both pastors assured those attending the funeral that God lovingly welcomed Jieng in his death.

Hundreds of people attended Jieng’s funeral, with a few extra folding chairs set up among the pews and several people standing in the back of the church.

Jieng was a freshman at Roosevelt High School and lived in Des Moines with his mom and six siblings.

His parents are refugees from Sudan, and they moved to Des Moines in 2002, shortly before he was born.

As the funeral service alternated between English and the Sudanese Nuer for both prayers and the sermon, both languages were used simultaneously as funeral attendees sang “Amazing Grace.” A church organ and conga drums accompanied the hymns.

As a recessional hymn played and Jieng’s casket was carried out of the church, more sorrowful, wailing cries could be heard. A pastor at the church said it’s typical in Sudanese culture to show grief by crying loudly and expressively.

“Yore made a difference in this world,” Bothwell said during the sermon. “We thank God for that difference.”

Police have repeatedly appealed to the public since Jieng was shot, asking for anyone who may have information on what happened to call detectives at 515-283-4868.

Copyright 2016 The Des Moines Register

Family will not rest until until killer is caught

Three years after Jieng’s death, Nyekuogh Jieng, Yore Jieng’s sister, said her family will not rest until her brother’s killer is caught.

“It still affects us, you know, the fact that that person isn’t behind bars but, you know, we have so much faith in God that that person will come to the light,” Nyekuogh Jieng told KCCI in a story that aired Oct. 29, 2019. “We have to put it in God’s hands.”

No arrests have been made in the case, but police said the investigation remains active.

Police have long said that Yore Jieng was not mixed up in criminal activity and it is unclear why he was shot.

Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told KCCI on Oct. 15, 2018, that police believe the gunfire came from a silver SUV that they were never able to locate. Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the vehicle speeding down Keo Way after the shooting.

Authorities now know the shots were fired from the passenger seat.

“There was a second person in that car that has the information that can help us close this out and give the family some closure and some peace,” Parizek told KCCI.

About Yore Jieng (from obituary)

Yore Thuok Jieng, age 14, died tragically on Friday, October 29, 2016.

Yore was born on May 26, 2002, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Andrew Khan and Lory Kuon. He was attending Roosevelt High School and his family are members of Capitol Hill Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his parents, and his siblings, Peter, Sabet, Nyekuoth, Nyabiay, Nyeduel, Baar, and Ban Jieng.

Yore Jieng is buried at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines. (Courtesy photo Katie Lou, findagrave.com)

Yore was a very social, friendly person. He was loved by all those who met him. Yore loved basketball, cheering for his favorite team – the Cavs, playing video games, and spending time with his family and friends.

Visitation was held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church, 511 Des Moines Street. Funeral services began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5th, also at the church, with burial at Glendale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions were to be directed to Yore’s family in his loving memory.

Condolences may be expressed at: www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.

Information Needed

The Des Moines Police Department would like to speak to anyone who drove down Keo Way around 6 p.m. October 24, 2016.

Anyone with information in the case should call Des Moines police at 515-283-4811.

Sources:

 

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