Somali college volunteer shot to death in Minneapolis

  • Article by: PATRICE RELERFORD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2008 - 11:33 PM

The 20-year-old man was shot on his way home from the Coyle Community Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali

Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali

Photo: ., Photo courtesy of Somali Justice Advocacy Center

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A young man shot and killed Monday on the street in front of a community center in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood was a college student who volunteered at the center, according to people at the scene.

Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia said the man, whom police did not identify, was shot shortly after 5 p.m. and died at the scene. No arrests had been made as of Monday evening.

Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, identified the victim as 20-year-old Ahmed Nur Ali, a freshman at nearby Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

"He was going home" from his volunteer gig at the Brian Coyle Community Center when he was shot, said Mustafa Jumale, 20, a friend of the victim.

The neighborhood is home to many Somali immigrants, and the center and nearby Currie Park are popular gathering places for many community residents.

Garcia said that detectives did not know what led to the shooting and that it was "too early" to determine whether it might be related to previous shootings linked to gang rivalries.

Family members who gathered at the site were upset that the victim's body remained outside the center for hours after the shooting as police conducted their investigation.

Somali cultural and religious customs call for a quick burial when possible.

Two women who identified themselves as Ali's sisters wept and embraced as they stood near the yellow tape police used to secure the area.

They would not talk to reporters. Other relatives also declined to be interviewed and asked reporters to respect their privacy.

"This is a sad moment for the community," Jamal said.

Police interviewed witnesses after the shooting and said they would look at tapes from security cameras in the area.

"Somebody knows what happened," said Inspector Janee Harteu, commander of the city's First Precinct. "We need them to come forward."

The Augsburg College community will gather to remember Ali in the Foss Chapel at 11:20 a.m. today, college officials said Monday night.

Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College, released a statement saying that school officials were saddened to learn about the shooting.

Patrice Relerford • 612-673-4395

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Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali