Young Shooting Victim Laid To Rest

4/20/2008 Fresno, CA Hundreds of family members and friends gathered in Merced tonight to remember a 20-year-old man who police believe was the innocent victim in what may have been a gang-related shooting.

Jerry Her leaves behind a family that was counting on his success.

His niece sang one of the songs he composed as a way to honor her uncle at his funeral. Jeanette Her grew up alongside Jerry and the news of his death crushed her.

"When I found out, I fell to my knees," she said. "I didn't want to believe it. Even now, I don't want to believe it, but he's in there. I'm out here. I can't talk to him any more."

Her and three other men were standing in front of a house on Green St. when ,witnesses say, someone walked up and started shooting an automatic weapon at them. Evidence markers by the dozens showed investigators where the bullets and the blood fell. Her died and so did 23-year-old Thao Vang. Police say Her had no gang connections at all, but his friends may have and the gunman who killed him may have been aiming for them.

At his funeral, friends honored a Hmong tradition of opening the casket so Her could hear the story of his life. He was a computer expert and a junior at Cal-State Stanislaus, a year away from becoming the first member of his family to get a bachelor's degree.

"Now, around this time next year, when people graduate, I don't know what I'm going to do," said his mother, Ka Moua, through a translator. Her's parents moved to the U.S. in 1987 and they hoped their college graduate son would take care of them financially.

"Jerry was our heart and soul and our hope for the future," said his father, Yong Chue Her, through a translator. "At this point, we're not sure where to put our heart or our hopes and dreams."

Police are still looking for the shooter who killed Her and Vang. Her's family may offer a reward to get help for investigators.

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