Kansas City, MO (KCTV) — A sophomore at Staley High School was killed Thursday night after police say he was purposely hit by an SUV.
Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation says they are working in conjunction with the Kansas City, MO, Police Department to investigate any possible Federal Civil Rights violations and the potential of a hate crime.
Police say 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein, whose classmates called “Adam,” had just walked out of the Somali Center of Kansas City at Admiral Boulevard and Lydia Avenue Thursday about 5:23 p.m. He was standing outside a Toyota about to get in when a driver in an SUV appeared to have intentionally swerved towards the teen.
The day after the crash, grieving family and friends gathered for traditional Friday prayer, but the service was a somber one.
“There’s no words to describe, we had a big loss, I lost my nephew,” said Abdinajib Dirir, the teen’s uncle. “Just somebody come and kill? I don’t have the words to describe it.”
He was among the men who surrounded Abdisamad’s grieving father at the mosque to offer their support.
“Everybody pray for him that he is will be in a better place…we’re all going to meet in paradise,” Dirir said.
Another adult was standing outside with Abdisamad and three other children in the car when the SUV barreled towards them. All were hurt.
Police caught the man who tried to drive from the scene and then run from the vehicle.
Family members say Abdisamad was just leaving prayer at the mosque where his father is the mosque leader when this tragic hit-and-run happened. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
Some in the community said they recognize the SUV as the one once covered in anti-Quran graffiti, driven by a man who has since been banned from Somali markets and restaurants for his rants against Muslims.
They showed KCTV5 a photo they took two months ago. The writing on the back window read, “Quran is a virus disease woreste [sic] than Ebola.”
One community member says people confronted the man in that SUV back then and it turned violent.
“Some of my friends were like, ‘Why are you doing this?'” Abdul Mohamed said. “Things got bad, they started arguing and he pulled a gun.”
The North Kansas City School District confirmed that the victim was a student at Staley. Students took to social media to show their concern and offer support to his family. Many spoke about how intelligent he was.
The school’s principal, Clark Mershon, issued a notice to parents about the young man’s death.
“Today has been a difficult day for us as we have lost an important member of our Falcon Family, sophomore, (Adam) Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein. Today we had students and staff caring and supporting one another during this difficult time. We had counselors here from our sister high schools helping students and staff. We will continue to have their support through Monday of next week. If was very appropriate for several of our students to provide an outlet for the Falcon Community to express their thoughts to Adam’s family through the writing of heartfelt messages during lunch today.
We remembered Adam prior to the end of school with a moment of silence. There are no words that can adequately express our sorrow.”
Abdisamad’s funeral services will be held on Saturday at the Islamic Center of Kansas at 1 p.m.
On Friday the Heartland Muslim Council released a statement on the possible hate crime:
“Kansas City Muslim community is deeply shocked at the hit and run, apparently intentional assault last evening outside a mosque on Admiral Boulevard in Midtown Kansas City. The attack resulted in the death of a teenager and serious injuries to another teenager. Our thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families and friends.”
“We ask the federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this attack as a possible hate crime.”
“We commend the Kansas City Police Department for apprehending the suspected killer immediately after the crime. We hope the suspect will be charged and brought to full justice.”
“In light of the increased attacks on the mosques across the nation, we appeal to the law enforcement departments to provide extra safety and security to the mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim businesses.”
By Laura McCallister, Jamie Oberg, Jeanene Kiesling