The South Sudanese immigrant, who escaped violence in his home country, was shot and killed in front of his Arapahoe County home early Monday morning.
"He's a good man. He took care of his family," said his brother Mayor Guem.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting which happened just after 3 a.m.
"We're just trying to run down lots of leads. We don't have a motive. We don't have any suspects as of yet," said Bruce Williamson, Public Safety Bureau Chief at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
Dispatchers received a 911 call about shots fired in the 1100 block of South Xenia Street, near Mississippi Avenue. Deputies found a 43-year-old Youn Malual with a single gunshot wound to the head in a gold SUV.
"This is something that we would not in the least expect... something to happen to Uncle Youn," said Gatwec Dengpathot, a family friend and community leader.
Deputies say they have no suspects and no motives for the shooting. Multiple shots were fired, possibly striking a home on the other side of the parking lot. No one was injured there. Nothing was stolen from the victim's car.
"As someone that escaped all these atrocities trying to come to the U.S., the best country in the whole world, and then seeing some things like this happening to my fellow South Sudanese, it is bizarre," Dengpathot said. "I'm in shock because I was not expecting this."
Dengpathot says Malual worked two jobs to support his wife, Mary Kuanen, and five children; four boys ages 17, 9, 5 and 2, as well as a 15-year-old daughter.
A grief stricken Kuanen was taken to the sheriff's office for questioning Monday, before family members said she broke the news to her young children.
Malual was a good father and a good member of the community, according to Dengpathot.
"Over here, [it's] supposed to be a safe haven for all the victim of wars, victim of everything across the world and then instead somebody coming to kill you in your own parking lot," he said. "[He] got involved in every community activity that involved kids. He didn't have any enemies."
Investigators say witnesses tell them a dark SUV left the scene with more than one person inside. They have no further description of that vehicle.
Police are asking if anyone has information regarding this crime please contact the Denver Police Department at 720-913-2000 or call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You can text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter your message. If the information you provide leads to the arrest and charging of a wanted individual, you can receive a cash award up to $2,000.
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