Connect with us

Crime

Man gets 39 years for attempted murder of 2 Somali men

Published

on

Anthony Sawina, 26, fired into a car full of Somali men, wounding two.

By SALMAN YOUSAFZAI

Anthony Sawina was sentenced Monday to 39 years in prison for shooting into a car full of young Somali men and wounding two of them in what many Muslims considered a hate crime.

The sentence, more severe than had been requested by attorneys for either side in Sawina’s trial, was handed down by Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance.

Just minutes before the sentence was read, Sawina, 26, of Lauderdale, had apologized to the Somali and Muslim communities and to the men he wounded. After hearing Quaintance issue the lengthy prison term, however, he shouted, “You people are the real criminals. People are killing each other and they get less time. This is injustice at its finest and you know it.”

After his outburst, deputies moved in to take Sawina away.

On May 11, a Hennepin County District Court jury rejected Sawina’s self-defense argument and found him guilty of nine counts of assault and attempted first- and second-degree murder.

“The evidence showed that [Sawina’s] conduct was reprehensible and shocking,” County Attorney Mike Freeman said after the verdict, adding that he would seek a prison sentence “north of 20 years” for Sawina.

Quaintance’s sentence nearly doubled that prison term. On Monday, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Patrick Lofton argued for a 25-year sentence by running some of the sentences consecutively. Sawina’s attorney argued for three years for each of the two bullets that struck the victims, for a total of six years.

Sawina was with a group of friends in Dinkytown about 2:30 a.m. on June 29, 2016, when they saw five Somali men, including one who was wearing traditional clothing for Ramadan.

As the Somalis were getting into a car, witnesses testified, they heard someone from Sawina’s group say “[expletive] Muslims.”

After at least one of the men got out of the car to confront the group, witnesses testified that Sawina said, “I’m saying [expletive] Muslims. What are you going to do about it?”

Sawina pulled out a handgun and pointed it toward the windshield, according to the charges. He walked around to the back of the car and fired at least twice through an open door, hitting two men in the back seat in the legs. Another bullet nearly hit the driver’s head. Sawina did not report the shooting to police. Instead, a witness identified him as the shooter to police, who arrested him about a month later.

At Sawina’s trial, Lofton said, “The defendant made an intentional and premeditated decision to kill the young men in that car.”

He noted that Sawina squared up and aimed before he shot and fired as the car was driving away.

Sawina’s attorney, Murad Mohammad, argued that his client fired after being threatened. Sawina testified that one of the men he confronted before the shooting told him he had a gun permit. After Sawina pulled his gun, he said he saw the driver bend down and believed he was reaching for a gun.

Quaintance, however, explained everything the jury had to have accepted as fact in order to find Sawina guilty on all nine counts.

She pointed out that Sawina and his friends were intoxicated when they confronted the men and that Sawina fled the scene, hid out and looked online for information on DNA and guns.

She talked about his convictions for driving without a license, fifth-degree assault and carrying a pistol without a permit. Quaintance also mentioned that his home, when it was searched, contained a nonworking hand grenade, several guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, making it a “veritable arsenal.”

His act was racially motivated and he endangered the lives of others besides his victim by firing on the street during bar closing time, she said.

“Consequently, this sentence does not unduly exaggerate the criminality of his conduct,” Quaintance said in handing down the sentence of 468 months.

He was given credit for 327 days already served in jail.

Staff writer Brandon Stahl contributed to this report.

Crime

Southall shooting: Man charged with murder of Khalid Abdi Farah

Published

on

Detectives investigating the shooting of 26-year-old Khalid Farah in Southall have charged a 21-year-old man.

Malique Thompson-Hill was charged with murder on Sunday (December 3), the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Mr Farah was fatally shot in the chest while he was sat in a Ford Focus car in Lady Margaret Road on November 11.

London Ambulance Service attended the scene and the victim was taken to a central London hospital where he died at 3.32am.

Following his death, Crimestoppers announced a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

In a statement, his family said: “Khalid was such an amazing son, brother and nephew.

“We can’t stress enough how distraught we are that our beautiful boy was taken away from us.”

The family statement added: “He was a kind and lovable soul who made an impression with everyone he would meet.”

Mr Thompson-Hill was due to appear at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Continue Reading

Briefing Room

Somali man found guilty in kidnapping of Canadian journalist

Published

on

FILE PHOTO: Somali national Ali Omar Ader arrested for 2008 hostage-taking in Somalia of two freelance journalists, Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian Nigel Brennan, is seen in an undated photo from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Courtesy RCMP/Handout via REUTERS

REUTERS — A Somali national has been convicted in an Ontario court for his role in the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who was held captive in Somalia for 460 days and released only after her family paid a ransom, Canadian media reported on Wednesday.
Ali Omar Ader, 40, was found guilty of one charge of hostage-taking for his role as negotiator for the kidnappers, in a decision handed down on Wednesday in Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa.

Lindhout, a freelance journalist, was taken hostage in Somalia on Aug. 23, 2008, along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, while working on a story. They were released for ransom in November 2009.

Ader was lured to Canada from Somalia in 2015 and arrested in Ottawa as part of a sting operation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in which an officer posed as a publisher interested in a book Ader was writing on Somalia, according to court documents.

Prosecutors argued that Ader had been the main spokesman for the hostage-takers, negotiating first with Lindhout’s mother and later with a private consultant hired by the families of Lindhout and Brennan.
According to court documents, he referred to himself as “a commander” and repeatedly threatened that the hostages would be harmed or killed unless the ransom was paid.

During his trial, Ader said that he too had been kidnapped by the group holding Lindhout captive, and was forced to act as their spokesman, as he spoke some English.

In his ruling, Justice Robert Smith said Ader’s claims were “completely unbelievable,” numerous Canadian media outlets reported. Reuters has not read the ruling.

Ader faces up to life in prison. Sentencing in the case is not expected until next year.

Lindhout has said she was repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted during her captivity, and both she and Brennan have said they were tortured and starved.

In 2013, Lindhout recounted her experience in the book “A House in the Sky.”

Continue Reading

Crime

Father beaten to death with chair as fight breaks out over snooker table in north London cafe

Published

on

A father was beaten to death with a chair when a fight broke out over the snooker table in a high street cafe.

Police launched a murder inquiry after Mohamed Hersi, 40, died in hospital following the attack in Bethel Cafe, Finsbury Park.

Mr Hersi, who recently left his job at a central London hotel to care for his elderly father, was set upon when he complained about players jumping the queue for the table.

He was rushed to hospital with critical injuries at 10pm on Tuesday. He died yesterday with his wife and their four children, aged five to 11, at his bedside.

His wife Barlin Ali, 36, told the Standard: “He was the best husband and father you could ask for.”
It is understood that Mr Hersi, who had been working as a hotel kitchen porter, was drinking tea and playing snooker in the cafe when the row broke out.

He was struck with the metal chair, fell to the floor and hit his head, his family said.

Mrs Ali said: “It is vitally important that anyone who saw what happened comes forward because the person who did this should not be on the streets.

“No other family should suffer this. Please come forward if you know anything and speak to police. We want justice for Mohamed because I have lost such a loving man.”

Mr Hersi’s sister-in-law Mariam Ali, 37, said: “Mohamed was a peaceful man. He would always say to us to not worry and ‘enjoy the moment’.
“Those were his favourite words. He was a lovely person and a good father. He was so happy around his children.”

“He was working at a grand hotel in central London until a few months ago when he had to stop work to look after his father.

“We just know he was drinking tea in the cafe on Tuesday night. We got a phone call saying Mohamed was on the floor. My sister ran to the cafe but the police were already there and took us to hospital. Doctors said he would not survive.”

The cafe in Seven Sisters Road was cordoned off. A worker at a nearby internet cafe said: “He was playing snooker. There’s only a small table there, it was full of people. A guy came in and was trying to jump the queue. Then there was an argument.”

The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 020 8345 3865 or via 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

TRENDING