Nearly three months since an apparent robbery in Ames that left a young Ballard High School graduate dead, police have exhausted all current leads and are still asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects.

On Nov. 18, 2017, Ames Police officers were called to an apartment on Mayfield Drive, south of Mortensen Road, at 3:37 a.m. and found a man in his 20s — later identified as Xavier Jordan Shepley, 21, of Ames — suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper chest. He was taken to Mary Greeley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

According to a news release from the police department, witnesses to the incident told officers two men wearing ski masks entered Shepley’s first-floor residence in Fountain View apartments in west Ames in what appeared to be a robbery. One of the intruders fired a shot from a handgun, striking Shepley. Witnesses said the suspects ran off and drove away at a high rate of speed in what appeared to be a black or blue Chevrolet Avalanche, police said. There was a handful of people at the apartment at the time of the shooting, but no one else was hurt, according to Ames Police Cmdr. Geoff Huff.

In the days and weeks following the death of the 2014 Ballard High School graduate, the crime scene was processed, evidence was collected, all available camera footage, both public and private, was reviewed, investigators followed up on available leads and outside law enforcement agencies were consulted with.

But as of now, the two suspects still remain at large.

As it stands, Huff said police believe nothing was taken from the apartment during the incident, which was the first and only homicide to occur in Ames in 2017. Although it is known that Shepley was living in the apartment for a period of time, it in unclear how long he had been staying there. Ames Police Sgt. Mike Arkovich noted that as far as police can tell, Shepley’s name was not on the lease or utilities account.

Police have been unable to determine specifics regarding the gun that was used in the shooting based on shell casings, outside of the fact that it was a semi-automatic handgun.

In previous interviews, Huff said that police do not know why the suspects picked Shepley’s apartment, or if a relationship existed between them. Only that the suspects were trying to conceal their identities by wearing ski masks.

Officers have followed up on all leads that came in at the start of the case, but no suspect has resulted. Without any new leads to pursue, officers are still looking for new information.

“We don’t have a lot of leads right now; investigators are still following up on leads that come in,” Huff said. “We’re still hopeful we get a break in the case. But right now, not much to go on. Obviously somebody knows who did this. So we’re waiting for that to happen; where somebody will provide us with some information.”

Can’t comment on what may have led up to the attempted robbery. It wouldn’t be appropriate at this point because they still have “so many unanswered questions.”

The case will remain open until solved.

“i think we’re still working on it on a daily basis to some extent. At some point. Once you’ve exhausted every lead you have, and you have nothing left to look at, it sort of becomes inactive. But a homicide case is never closed unless there’s an arrest or conviction. So it will remain open until solved.”

“At some point you do reach the point where there isn’t anything to follow up on, so things do go inactive, but not closed.”

Police are asking that anyone with information about the incident contact them at 515-239-5133, the anonymous tip line at 515-239-5533, or at Crimestoppers at 515-223-1400, or 1-800-452-1111.

“we’re still looking for the public’s help. Obviously somebody knows more information thatw e don’t have, and we’re certainly looking to hear from them. We don’t like to have unsolved crimes either. We know they’re unsettling to the community. And I’m sure the family would like to solve it as well. So were working hard on it, but we need some information.”