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Continued: Shootings targeting Somalis raise worries of gang war

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 31, 2013 - 7:05 AM

He was the brother of one of the men killed in the 2007 double homicide.

Those killings led to a Somali community meeting that about 100 people attended at the Brian Coyle Community Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. High-ranking members of the Minneapolis Police Department attended in an effort to build trust with the Somalis, some of whom regarded police officers with suspicion based on experiences they had had in their native country.

That fall, someone shot Ahmed Nur Ali, 20, to death as he left the Brian Coyle Community Center following a volunteer shift there.

He was a freshman at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. A 16-year-old was later charged in his death.

A week later, a 21-year-old Somali man was shot in the chest outside the Village Market Mall in south Minneapolis. Hassan Abdillahi was sentenced to 32 years in prison for the shooting.

The bloodshed continued four months later when Ali Ismael, 23, who had testified against Abdillahi in his trial, was shot dead as he sat in a car in a Nicollet Avenue S. parking lot.

The following spring, in 2009, Abdirizak D. Ali, 24, was shot as he sat a White Castle in Hopkins. A suspect was captured and charged for the killing.

Intervention

The three who died in the most recent shootings were well known among other Somali youth, said Abdul Mohamed, a youth worker with Ka Joog, a Somali outreach organization based in Minneapolis. Drugs and gang violence may be involved in the shootings, he said.

“It’s definitely a back-and-forth,” he said. “One person dies, and a few weeks later somebody else dies. It’s not sporadic.”

Mohamed said he was concerned both for the youth who may get involved in the shootings and for the larger Somali community, which tends to get a black eye whenever Somalis are involved in high-profile crimes.

Aside from the group’s daily work reaching out to Somali youth, Mohamed said he and others with Ka Joog are planning an upcoming event to address this latest round of violence.

Abdifatah Farah, artistic director for Ka Joog, said underlying issues are behind the crime. “We’re trying to open the doors for some of these youth,” he said.

 

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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