Loved Ones: 'You Brutally Killed Him'

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Friends and family are reflecting on the life of a man who was the victim of a homicide this week.

Police found Clifton West, 34, in an alley on the Southeast side of Cedar Rapids on Tuesday just after 11 p.m. They said someone had stabbed him. Medical responders took him to a nearby hospital where he died. Police have not arrested anyone for his murder.

Loved ones said West was a man the community will miss. They said he moved from Chicago to Cedar Rapids more than 15 years ago to get closer to his kids and escape the dangers of a big city. Sadly, it was in the city he loved that West was stabbed to death.

There are a lot of ways to describe West, but the mother to four of his kids, Somer Lekin, said "big smile" and "devoted father" are the best.

"You have too many men out here that aren't fathers to their kids. This man lived for his kids," Lekin said.

You could see that in the photos Lekin and West's daughter Amoni looked through, Saturday.

"He was crazy, funny, fun, everything," Amoni said.

And now he's gone. Something these loved ones are trying to accept.

"It hurts a lot," Amoni said.

That pain comes from so few answers. Lekin and Amoni said they don't know why someone would hurt West, but they know what they would say to those behind his murder.

"Why? Why would you take a loving father away?" Amoni asked.

Investigators haven't released much info on West's stabbing and Lekin is worried his case may remain unsolved.

"I don't want them to think that this was just another black man killed on the southeast side. This man meant something to a lot of people," Lekin said.

She's urging authorities to not let West's murder fall in between the cracks.

"I just really hope they find who did this, so my kids and his family have justice," she said.

While they wait, these loved ones prepare for West's funeral. Lekin said West was going to take his kids to Chicago for the Fourth of July, next week. Instead, he'll be buried there.

"I know where he is now. He's watching over his kids," Lekin said. A devoted father, even in the afterlife.

A fundraiser for funeral expenses and West's kids has been setup online. Here's the link: Clifton West Memorial Fund
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