Austin High grad murdered in Philadelphia

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — An alleged botched robbery in Philadelphia resulted in the untimely death of a 23-year-old Austin High School graduate, who’d moved out east only a month before to teach math to disadvantaged students.

Beau Zabel — Eagle Scout, honor roll student, college graduate, idealist — was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck 1:30 a.m. Sunday while returning home from a shift at a Starbuck’s coffee shop.

“It was a 45-minute walk from his job to his apartment,” his ex-stepgrandfather Gerald Zabel said. “I heard he was about a block away from the apartment when it happened.”

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According to the Star Tribune, witnesses saw the gunman run from the scene following the shooting, where Zabel was found with his wallet and pockets turned inside out.

As of Monday morning, a Philadelphia police spokesperson said say they’ve made no arrests.

Gerald Zabel said the young man was “one of ours” — a smart, kind person, with a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., following his 2003 graduation from Austin High School.

He left for Philadelphia May 1, Gerald Zabel said, for a teaching program targeting inner-city children. His Facebook profile said he’s been accepted to teach math through the Philadelphia Teaching Fellow program, and would be enrolling at Drexel University for a graduate degree in education.

Zabel is survived by a brother and sister; his mother, Lana Zamora of Austin; and father, Doug Kammeier of Iowa City, Iowa.

Gerald Zabel said Zamora left for Philadelphia after learning of the death. He expected her to return Wednesday and for funeral services to take place later this week.

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin will handle funeral arrangements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.