Friends and Loved Ones Still Waiting For Answers in Murder of 88-Year-Old Kalamazoo Man

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-29 10:57:19-04

Friends and loved ones are still waiting for answers in the death of a veteran from Kalamazoo who was killed over the weekend.

Alfred Minka, 88, was found in his home.

Police are calling it a homicide.
“We definitely want answers,” said Paul Garten, Alfred’s friend.

Garten is mourning the loss of the man who often acted like a father to him.

“He was kind of a neighborhood father to a lot of kids in the neighborhood,” said Garten.

Garten said Alfred was a hard-working man. He loved making pickles and hunting.

To find out that he was killed in his own home is unthinkable.

“I was devastated, still hurt. It`s really a great neighborhood,” said Garten.

As a young man, Alfred fought for Latvia in World War II, then later, was living in a camp for those who were displaced.

That’s when he met his future wife, Gaida.

“Watched out for her family, took care of her house, her kids,” said Garten.

Both eventually came here to America although not on the same ship.

A family member said Alfred came through New Orleans.

Then, went to the West Coast on a sponsorship while Gaida eventually made her way to Kalamazoo.

During that time period, farmers or other employers would sponsor those who were refugees from Latvia by giving them a job for a year.

After Alfred reunited with Gaida in Kalamazoo, they married and settled here.

They belonged to the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Latvian Church, founded by immigrants in 1949.

Alfred remained heavily involved in the church.

Services for his death will take place there as the community waits for answers.

“It`s a sad thing to deal with. He definitely didn`t deserve to go out the way he went out, he was definitely too good of a man for that.  It was somebody`s greed, things got in the way,” said Garten.

Memorial services for Alfred will take place Saturday.