Bodies of 2 Colorado men killed in Syria fighting ISIS return to state


Levi Shirley and Jordan MacTaggart

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DENVER -- The bodies of two Colorado men who were shot and killed battling the war on terror overseas this summer have returned to the state.

Jordan MacTaggart of Castle Rock and Levi Shirley of Arvada were killed in action fighting ISIS in Syria alongside Kurdish forces.

Their bodies were flown from Jordan to Chicago and on Friday morning they arrived at Union State on an Amtrak train.

In 2015, Shirley, 24, volunteered to fight with the People's Protection Units, Kurdish forces that fight ISIS in Syria.

He returned a second time this year and was killed July 14 in a land mine explosion in northern Syria.

Shirley's mother said her son had dreams to join the Marines but was unable to because of bad eyesight.

His family said his service was an unselfish act and they are proud of him.

Dozens of Americans and other Westerners are fighting with Kurdish groups. One of them was MacTaggart, 22. He was killed Aug. 3 while fighting with the military group YPG. He was shot and killed in action.

Friends and family said he felt compelled to dedicate himself to fighting ISIS. He had no previous military training.

He returned home in 2015 after being shot in the leg but returned this year to fight again.

Both men knew each other and had no direct ties to ISIS.

“He would see an injustice and it wasn’t OK. It wasn’t OK just to go on with your life with something like that going on,” Susan Shirley said.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter has presented American flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of MacTaggart and Shirley to the families.

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