Father of man hit by stray bullet in Iowa City pleads for justice while son fights for his life

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - After a stray bullet hit a driver in Iowa City on Sunday, family members of the victim are asking people to come forward who might know something.

Nile Heefner is the driver’s father. His name is Gabe Heefner and he’s a Lance corporal in the Marine Corps was visiting his grandparents in Iowa City this past weekend before being sent to Japan to serve for the next three years.

“He was, on Sunday evening, going to get fast food at Panda Express on the southwest side of Iowa City,” Nile told TV-9.

According to a press release from the Iowa City Police department, Gabe was heading east bound on Highway 6 near Sycamore Street on Sunday evening.

“Somewhere between there and the Sycamore mall, close to the Sycamore Mall, a gunshot was fired and it just so happened to tragically strike Gabe in the forehead.”

The Iowa City Police Department says there is a person of interest in this case, but they did not offer any further details.

Gabe’s father wants the person responsible to face justice.

“It’s a tragedy in that he joined the Marines to serve his country, and instead of being in a foreign country and being shot, instead he comes to his hometown and is shot by a stray bullet,” he said.

Nile told TV-9 that his son’s recovery has been up and down. In the first day, he was responsive but since then he’s been less so.

“Since then it’s kind of been down hill. Little response to commands, not opening his eyes,” said Nile. “So it’s still early and we’re trusting God and trusting the doctors and nurses.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up by Gabe’s friends and family to help with medical COSTS. The fundraiser is looking to raise $40,000. As of this writing on Friday morning, it’s at $36,764.

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