Public Safety

January's fatal shootings remain unsolved, police still investigating

Two shootings five days apart claimed the lives of two young men

Cedar Rapids Police investigate the scene of a shooting in the parking lot near 634 Ashton Place NE in Cedar Rapids on T
Cedar Rapids Police investigate the scene of a shooting in the parking lot near 634 Ashton Place NE in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. The 22-year-old victim was transported to UnityPoint-St. Luke’s with critical injuries and later pronounced dead. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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The first month of 2020 brought with it two gun deaths, marking the year’s first two homicides in Cedar Rapids.

Within the span of five days, 18-year-old Andrew Gaston and 22-year-old Jose Millan-Ramirez were shot and killed at apartment complexes in northeast Cedar Rapids.

No arrests have been made in either case.

What’s Happened Since

Public safety spokesperson Greg Buelow said police are still actively investigating both cases. A request to speak to the investigators handling the cases was declined.

Based on what they know so far, Buelow said, there is nothing to indicate that Gaston’s and Ramirez’s deaths are related.

That said, Buelow also reiterated that investigators do not believe the shootings were random.

“In other words, the victim and suspect or suspects were known to one another,” he said.

Investigators are continuing to make progress, Buelow said, declining to give any more details and adding that police are still looking for people to come forward with information.

“As with any case, if someone has information about the incidents, they are encouraged to contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department,” he said.

A student at Metro High School — and on track to graduate at start of the coming school year — Andrew Gaston was shot and killed January 24 at an apartment complex on Agin Court NE, just south of Blairs Ferry Road in Cedar Rapids.

A 16-year-old was also shot, Cedar Rapids police said. The teen was treated at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and released.

Gaston was remembered as a bright kid who worked hard and was always working to improve. He enjoyed playing basketball and was passionate about the game and how lessons learned on the court could carry over into everyday life.

Gaston is survived by his mother and father as well as several brothers and sisters, and extended family, according to an obituary.

Four days later, Jose Millan-Ramirez was fatally shot at about 3:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Ashton Place Apartments, 634 Ashton Place NE, just west of C Avenue NE and south of Boyson Road. The police department said responding officers found Millan-Ramirez with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died a short time later.

An obituary says he is survived by his mother, four brothers, one sister and his son.

Millan-Ramirez worked as a roofer for D.C. Taylor Co and he enjoyed spending time with family, especially his son.

He took pride in his Hispanic heritage, according to his obituary.

“He enjoyed boxing (and) watching football, particularly the Kansas City Chiefs,” the obituary reads. “Jose enjoyed cooking with his mom and liked to eat, especially big burritos and tamales.”

Anyone with information regarding either shooting is asked to contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5491 or Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1- (800) CS-CRIME or text CRIMES (274637).

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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