Young family needs community’s support and understanding

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So many questions remain after the arrest over the weekend of a Warren Central honors graduate and her boyfriend who are accused of attempting to join the Islamic State.

What could possibly make such a bright young woman as Jaelyn De’Shaun Young, the daughter of a Vicksburg police officer and U.S. military veteran abandon college at Mississippi State University and pledge allegiance to such a violent cause in a war torn country as the FBI says she did?

“This is not the Jaelyn that I know,” her scholarship provider and mentor Eddie Melton said. “She’s loving and kind and caring. Her friends and community have an opportunity to help her see the error in her way and her choices instead of condemning and ostracizing her.”

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So much of the reasoning isn’t clear right now, and perhaps never will be.

Many will begin blaming her boyfriend Muhammad “Mo” Dakhlalla and his family, though in messages released by the FBI, Young said Dakhlalla’s family did not support ISIS.

One must also not blame the Young family either. Jaelyn’s father, Leonce, is a proud veteran, having served 21 years and 14 tours of duty.

Leonce Young has been with VPD for 17 years and “has done an excellent job in performing his duties and responsibilities as an officer,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do with an officer,” Armstrong said of notifying the Young family of Jaelyn’s arrest.

For years, Leonce Young has been supporting Vicksburg. We’ve watched him help the community and our country countless times, and now it’s time for the city and nation he’s pledged to protect to support him and his family through this awful ordeal.

We can only imagine the pain and betrayal he and his wife are feeling this week. Send them your thoughts, prayers and condolences.