A story published by Yahoo News tells how Abdi Mohamed, the teenager critically shot by Salt Lake City police last month, journeyed with his family from war-torn Somalia to the United States in search of a better life.
In an interview with his cousin, Muslima Weledi, the report says the family escaped violence in Somalia and reached a refugee camp in Kenya. They lived in a house of sand walls that lacked indoor plumbing, where they often went hungry. Mohamed, now 17, arrived in Utah at age 6.
A decade later, he’s in a coma after an encounter with the police.
Weledi was 5 when she migrated to the United States with Mohamed and their family. She recalled in the article that the adults had difficulty learning English and earning a living. Consequently, Mohamed’s family periodically lived in a homeless shelter when they couldn’t pay the bills.
They also faced challenges integrating. In a city that’s predominantly Mormon, she said classmates looked at her and Mohamed with suspicion, especially when discussions arose in class about terrorism.
By age 12, Mohamed had his first encounter with authorities, the article states. Weledi believes that his grandfather’s auto accident, which resulted in brain damage, triggered the teenager’s misbehavior. He was sent to juvenile detention over a period of time for a range of criminal activities, including theft and assault.
In the shooting incident, police said Mohamed and another person were beating a man with a metal object. They opened fire when Mohamed disregarded their order to drop the object, described in the article as a metal stick, and continued to move toward the victim.
But Mohamed’s family has doubts about the police version of the encounter because of some witness reports.
They are calling on the police to release video of the shooting, which authorities refuse to do until they’ve completed their investigation.