Jowel Vieux, 62, immigrated to the United States in the 1970s but still maintained a home and small auto shop in Port-au-Prince, where many of his family members remained. He flew to Haiti on Jan. 24, against the urging of family members worried about his safety.
Vieux had been in Haiti for several weeks doing what he could for the country. When he first arrived, he and his brother helped recover the body his 15-year-old cousin, who had died in the earthquake but was still trapped beneath tons of debris. They buried her in a grave dug on the family’s land.
Vieux was wrapping caution tape around the rubble that once was his home Wednesday when he was shot in the back multiple times by a group of men, family members said. U.S. Marines who were in the neighborhood followed the sound of gunshots and found him lying in the street in front of his home and pronounced him dead.
Vieux’s family is trying to go through the red tape involved in flying his body back to New York. Family members who flew to Haiti after his death have a meeting scheduled with embassy officials Friday. They hope to fly him home next week, if they can raise the $7,000 they need for transportation and the funeral.
Jowel Vieux, a prostate cancer survivor from Roosevelt, N.Y., leaves behind his wife, three children and nine grandchildren.
Vieux recruited Haitians looking for food and money to work for him daily and he also regularly gave food and money to many, many others, family said.
Jowel Vieux, 62, a beloved Long Island, N.Y., grandfather who was in Haiti for about a month searching for missing family members and helping the country he loved, was shot in the back Wednesday and left to die on the streets of Port-au-Prince.