Family seeks help to bring home remains of 20-year-old killed in US gun-attack

Justice Kilel, 20, was shot dead at Sunshine Supermarket in Charlottesville, USA, on March 4, 2023. 

A family from Kapsirichoi in Nandi is seeking help to bring home the remains of their 20-year-old son killed by two gun-totting teens in Charlottesville, US.

Justice Kigen left his home in Charlottesville, US and went shopping at a mini-supermarket near the University Of Virginia Medical Centre on March 4.

Kigen's parents received information from the police that their son, who had left to buy basic items and return home, had been gunned down by unknown people.

His mother, Jenipher Kilel, said that an hour after Kigen left home, they received calls that he had been confronted by two teenagers armed with a gun.

“The two young men trailed Kigen to the store, where they assaulted him. They shot him six times in the chest, and he died on the spot,” he stated.

Dr Kilel said that her son met his death under mysterious circumstance, and the family was yet to come to terms with the incident.

After completing his senior school education, Kigen, a last born in a family of four, became a climate change activist. He used most of his time engaging with the friends, groups and his peers advocating environment conservation.

“He developed an interest in farming, and he had his own garden where he had planted vegetables, among other crops, as one way of maintaining a natural environment for his family.

It is unfortunate that we lost him, as he had just started his career,” she stated.

Kilel is demanding justice for Kigen, who was born in Kapsirichoi village in Nandi in 2003. She described her son as hard-working, adding that he participated in many community initiatives.

According to an investigation report into the incident, a gun fight between the suspects and the police ensued and one of the suspects was shot dead while the other one was arrested after sustaining shot injuries.

The 17-year-old suspect was remanded and has been charged with second-degree murder.

At Kigen's rural home in Kapsirichoi village, family and friends are still struggling to come to terms with his sudden death.

They are burning the midnight oil on how to raise funds Sh4.5 million to bring their kin home and cater for his burial expenses.

Martin Kilel, the deceased's uncle, said culture dictates that Kigen is brought home for burial.

“We are appealing for help from well-wishers to help us bring the body home. It will take a little bit longer as we seek clearance from the authorities to allow the family to bury their loved one,” he stated.