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New Year's Day homicide victim was U.S. Army boot camp trainee

January 7, 2014 Updated: January 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm
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The man gunned down New Year's Day outside an apartment in southeast Colorado Springs was on holiday leave from U.S. Army basic training in Fort Benning, Ga.

Olajuwon Kumangai, 19, was staying with the only relatives he had in Colorado Springs: Billy William, his cousin, and his wife, Lyvia William, who live at the Antero Apartments northwest of Fountain and Murray boulevards.

"He was visiting for the holidays and was going to return to Georgia and finish basic training," Lyvia William said Tuesday. "His fiancee is in Palau," she said, referring to an island in the Pacific.

Police found Kumangai's body after receiving a call at 6:57 a.m. Jan. 1 about a drive-by shooting. Hours later, 30-year-old Matthew John Dejong was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, the first homicide of 2014 in Colorado Springs.

Kumangai was inducted to the U.S. Army at his native Palau last July and had nearly completed the mandatory nine-week boot camp when he traveled to Colorado Springs during Christmas and New Year's holiday break to visit family, said Fort Benning public affairs spokeswoman Elsie Jackson.

"He was due back last weekend, to resume training Jan. 6," Jackson said.

According to court documents, Kumangai and his family had been at the Copperhead Road night club on North Academy Boulevard, where he met 23-year-old Donetta Loggins. She agreed to go to the Antero Apartments with Kumangai and his family when the club closed, the affidavit stated.

Dejong picked her up some time later at a nearby gas station, after Loggins had texted him saying that her hosts wouldn't let her leave and that someone had hidden her phone, the affidavit read. Dejong didn't take her home, according to the affidavit, but headed to the apartment complex, where he confronted Kumangai and Billy William in the parking lot.

According to the affidavit, Dejong told police he fired one round from a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol into the air and then fired repeatedly at Kumangai. The El Paso County coroner's office confirmed Kumangai had been shot three times, the affidavit stated.

Dejong's first appearance at the El Paso County courthouse is scheduled Jan. 13, records show.

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