A 41-year-old Christian man was executed in front of his children in a parking lot in Iowa as he waited to pick up his wife on Friday night.
Sometime around 10:30 pm, Stephen Kim was waiting for his wife with his boys in a parking lot at an apartment complex, which the couple used as a pick-up and drop-off spot for his wife to carpool to work, when at least four men approached the car.
Kim was in the backseat of his car with his boys and police say that it was an apparent robbery gone bad. Kim was shot and killed right in front of his three little boys.
They essentially executed him in front of his kids,” Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said in a news conference Saturday. “He did what any parent would do, instinctually, and try to protect his children.”
Kim had celebrated “culture day” with his boys at Holy Family Catholic School earlier on Friday. He and his wife, Esther, are Burmese immigrants and have three sons together, a preschooler, first grader and second grader.
Both Stephen and Esther worked two jobs each to support their family and put the boys in private school.
“He was absolutely determined to make sure his children had a good education,” Holy Family Principal Martin Flaherty said. “He was a committed father.”
The Des Moines Register reports on the Stephen and Esther’s background:
Kim was part of the Zomi ethnic minority from the Chin State, in western Myanmar, which was formerly Burma. Zomi number in the millions and can be found in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. They are mostly Christian in a predominantly Theravada Buddhist region of the world.
After briefly living in Malaysia, Kim and his wife, who is also Zomi, came to the U.S. to escape the persecution they faced as a result of their faith and ethnic identity, said Henny Ohr, executive director of the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center in Iowa.
No suspects have been named in Kim’s murder.
Kim’s murder brings Des Moines’ homicides to 12 this year. Another homicide also occurred over the weekend. There was total of 13 last year.
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