Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein was leaving his mosque at the Somali Center of Kansas City, where he had helped lead the evening prayers, to join his friends at the gym to play basketball when he was hit by a speeding Chevrolet Blazer. Sheikh-Hussein nearly lost his legs and died later at a hospital.
The driver, Ahmed H. Aden, 34, admitted to police that he intended to kill the men he had a previous confrontation with nine days earlier. He told police that it wasn’t an accident, but that he mistook the teenager for one of the men with whom he had an argument.
According to court documents, Aden got out of the vehicle with a knife after crashing the SUV. Occupants of the vehicle followed Aden until they could identify him to police. One witness account said he appeared to be swinging a baseball bat, while another said he drew a handgun, The Associated Press reported.
Aden is being charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, leaving the scene of an accident and unlawful use of a weapon.
Federal authorities will investigate the incident as a possible hate crime, according to The AP.
FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said that federal agents “have opened this matter as a federal civil rights investigation as a potential hate crimes violation.” The investigation was requested by Muslim leaders on Friday, The AP reported.
Members of the mosque said that they had noticed a black SUV driving around the nearby shopping area with threatening messages painted on it. Aden had been the subject of several reported incidents prior to Sheikh-Hussein’s death. The assistant director of the Somali Center of Kansas City and its mosque, Ali Abdi, said that Aden was known to make frequent and violent threats against Muslims and the mosque, The Kansas City Star reported. Abdi said he’s even threatened “the mass slaughter of worshippers.”
“He said he will kill a number of people,” Abdi told The Star. “Ultimately, he killed one. Allah did not allow him to kill more.”
Mohamed Farah, 50, called the police multiple times in October about “a suspicious man who was coming around the center,” he told The AP.
In a report released by Kansas City police on Friday, an officer investigating an assault at a Somali market on Independence Avenue conducted a phone interview with Aden on Oct. 25.
“The (suspect) stated to me that several people from … Islam (were) going to kill him,” the officer wrote. “I then asked the (suspect) why they want to kill him, and he stated that he was only practicing his freedom of press/ expression.”
No charges were filed in the assault case because the victim didn’t pursue prosecution, The Star said.
After Friday afternoon prayers, many of the 200 people remained to attempt to comfort Sheikh-Hussein’s family. His friends described him as ” a regular kid.”
“Everybody in this community knew him,” Ahmed Mohamed, a friend of Sheikh-Hussein’s family told The Star. “There was no person that he would exempt, nobody who didn’t like him. He was the kind of person who everybody loved.”