The deaths of three young men from a predominantly Muslim community in Indiana have raised more questions than answers for investigators.
The Washington Post reports that 23-year-old Mohamedtaha Omar, 20-year-old Adam Mekki, and 17-year-old Muhannad Tairab were found dead Wednesday (Feb. 24) at a home police called a “party house” in Fort Wayne. The men were all shot “execution-style,” according to law enforcement.
Speaking with local news site WANE-TV, Police Chief Garry Hamilton believes more than one person may be behind the deaths.
“With that many people involved, victims, it’s hard for one person to commit that act by themselves so there had to be some other people present,” the police chief said. “These young people were just starting out their lives, and now, they’ve lost their lives. I need the citizens of Fort Wayne to support us to give us this information and anyone with information about this to help solve this case.”
The home was a designated area for gatherings involving teens and young adults of African descent. Fort Wayne police said the house was monitored by the gang and violent crimes unit, but the victims had no gang ties.
Darfur People’s Association founder and vice president Motasim Adam, who visited the families of the victims, refuted media claims made about their religious backgrounds. Omar and Tairab were Muslim and Mekki was Christian, he said. All three hailed from the Sahel region in Africa.
Rusty York, the city’s public safety director, told WPTA-TV that investigators do not think the killing was motivated by the victims’ religious affiliation, the Washington Post reports.
The homicide occurred the same week as the mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the Kansas workplace shooting, prompting people to take to social media regarding the minimal coverage of the crime with the hashtag, #OurThreeBoys.
The FBI has announced their assistance in the investigation. Muslim leaders in the community said the case has a stark comparison to the 2015 shooting of three Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Via The Washington Post:
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, said it has reached out to investigators in the case, to local Muslim community leaders and to the families of the victims.
“People think back to the Chapel Hill murders where the family and Muslim community firmly believes it is a bias motive,” Hooper said. “They look at this and see a similar kind of thing so that’s in everyone’s mind. It brings back those memories and concerns.”
On Saturday, Omar and Tairab were laid to rest at the Islamic Center of Fort Wayne.
Another remembrance honoring the victims will take place this evening at 7 p.m. Check out the livestream here.