Parents react to son's D.C. shooting death

Published: Jul. 11, 2016 at 11:25 PM CDT
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A 27-year-old Omaha native who worked for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. was shot to death Sunday. Loved ones say Seth Conrad Rich moved to the nation's capital to pursue his dream of working in politics. Rich’s parents, Mary Ann and Joel Rich, say they’re heartbroken their son’s life ended so soon.

"Our son had a wonderful life and we are very, very proud of that. Even though we will forever miss him,” Mary Ann told WOWT 6 News.

It's a call they will never forget, learning from Washington D.C. police their son had been shot and killed just steps away from his home.

Joel said his son was bound to touch many.

"He worked hard and he wanted to make a difference and unfortunately now there is someone who could have made a difference who isn't going to be there,” Joel said.

The 27-year-old was already making an impact. He was one of the youngest to hold a critical position for the democratic national committee as data director. Through his work Seth found innovative ways to reach voters.

"What he was working on was ensuring that anyone that wanted to vote could vote,” said Joel.

His public service career started young; his parents say the Central High grad had a knack for talking to anyone and was committed to service.

It’s why while Jewish he still chose a Jesuit school in Creighton. In his teens he worked on Ben Nelson's campaign and he later worked for Scott Kleeb and the Nebraska Democratic Party.

His mom says he knew how to make people lighten up by sharing his obsession for pandas and smiles.

“That panda sweatshirt has shown up in the DC office just to break it up and give people a laugh,” said Mary Ann.

They point to his final Facebook post on Thursday about the violent turmoil of the nation last week as evidence of his character, it reads in part: "too much pain to process. We have to be better and defend each other more true. A life is exponentially valuable."

"Will I forever miss him, yes. But I have to remember the happy times too to get through the tears," said Mary Ann.

The family told WOWT 6 News they want people to know how grateful they are to the many people who have called and written messages to them including both the mayors of D.C. and Omaha.

They said it is bringing them comfort in this very difficult time.

There were no witnesses and police have no suspects. Investigators are looking into all possible motives. The family says they suspect it was a robbery, but nothing was taken from him.