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Columbus, Ohio

Police: No evidence of a hate crime in reported assault of woman, stemmed from argument

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Columbus Police say despite rumors and speculation across social media, they have no evidence an incident “involved any type of bias which would constitute the incident being investigated as a hate crime.”

The family of a Muslim woman who was reportedly assaulted at her northeast Columbus apartment complex Saturday night say she was attacked by a man when she tried to intervene in an argument between a Somali woman and white men. Rahma Warsame suffered fractures, multiple cuts and bruises according to loved ones.

Officers say they were first reported to the Pinellas Court apartment complex because of 911 calls reporting a woman making threats, accusing the caller of having her child. Police say there were several calls made to 911 that included claims of a woman hitting a child with a shoe, and a person stating someone had kidnapped her son because they saw her hitting him.

During one of the calls while officers were in route, a dispatcher said they heard someone making threats and the sounds of a physical confrontation.

Police say they found a woman lying face down in a doorway with a man identifying himself as her husband standing with her. He told them she’d been assaulted with “some type of device similar to a taser.” Responding officers say there was also another woman who was bleeding from the mouth who told them she’d been assaulted by a man.

Members of CAIR, a DC based Muslim rights group, claimed Warsame was the victim. “She attempted to intervene in another argument between another Somali woman and a white males when she attempted to intervene, a male suspect attacked her” said CAIR executive director Jennifer Nimer.

At the apartments where it happened, Ricky Boyce said problems started when neighbors, including Warsame, and his girlfriend Samantha got into a fight over how an adult was treating a child. He says his girlfriend was surrounded by several people, including men, and when he saw her fall to the ground he stepped in to protect her.

“Oh, I know I hit somebody, so I’m sure I did,” Boyce said.

Police did not name the two women or the man they initially saw when they arrived.

After interviewing multiple victims and witnesses, Columbus Police say no arrests were made because of conflicting stories by everyone at the scene, and a lack of evidence. Two women were taken to area hospitals to be treated for injuries, but officers say the injuries as reported didn’t rise above the level of misdemeanor assault.

Police say they referred the case to the Prosecutor’s Office, as is standard procedure when probable cause can’t be established.

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Columbus, Ohio

Central Ohio’s Somali community mourns deadly attack

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Somalis who call Central Ohio home are mourning an attack considered the deadliest in their native country.

On Saturday, a truck bomb killed more than 300 people in the capital city of Mogadishu.

Somali-Americans living in Central Ohio went to a north Columbus mosque with a clear message on the violence.

“Pray for the victims and number two, condemn with the strongest term what happened in Mogadishu,” explained Horsed Nooh, director of the Abubakar Assidiq Islamic Center.

For Nooh, Saturday’s deadly attack strikes close to home.

“I lost some family members. I lost some friends. Many of them were the brightest minds from Columbus. They grew up here, they graduated from these schools and they went back to contribute.”

Sharif-Ali Hashim also has loved ones in the African capital city. He said while they’re physically fine, emotionally they are hurting.

“My brothers, I have my sisters, relatives, friends, I talked with them and everybody and some of them they were in tears,” said Hashim.

Hashim explained people are turning to their faith to comfort their pain.

“Without faith, you cannot move.”

Currently, members of Central Ohio’s Somali community are working on a fundraiser to help attack victims and their families.

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Columbus, Ohio

Central Ohio Somali community fears being targeted after teen’s murder

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BLACKLICK (WCMH) — Was a local teen murdered because he’s Somalian? The Council for American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, said in the wake of the shooting, many in the Somali community fear they’re being targeted.

Police haven’t ruled 15-year-old Mohamed Abdulkadir’s death a hate crime, but CAIR said after the shooting, many Somali families are worried they’ll be attacked because of their ethnicity.

NBC4 spoke with a Somali family in the neighborhood where the shooting happened. They said being Somalian had nothing to do with Abdulkadir’s death.

Suheyb Ahmed, 13, is having a hard time coping with the loss of his life-long friend.

“I was like, ‘It’s not possible, he can’t be dead. Like, it was somebody else. Maybe they were just confused,’” he said.

Suheyb and his mother Khadra didn’t want to show their faces on camera. They said Abdulkadir, who lived across the street, was like family.

“We were really close friends. He lives right there. We would always go play soccer or football or basketball together,” said Suheyb.

The Ahmed’s have lived in the Blacklick neighborhood for 14 years.

“I love this neighborhood and we don’t have any problems,” said Khadra.

They said they’ve never felt targeted at home or school.

“This issue is not for hate or racist, this is something came from the kids. We feel safe,” said Khadra.

Romin Iqbal, with CAIR Columbus said Somali families he spoke with in the neighborhood don’t feel the same.

”There’s a lot of fear in the community, in the Somali community,” said Iqbal.

He said they’re scared and that another Somali student was threatened after the shooting.

“I’ve been told that parents are not letting their children go outside and play in the park outside their homes,” said Iqbal.

Iqbal said he’s forwarded the information he’s gathered to the FBI and police.

Suheyb just started 8th grade. He said he loves school. Life just won’t be the same without Abdulkadir.

“He was at the wrong place wrong time,” he said.

The Licking Heights School District said CAIR told it about the alleged threat against a student Tuesday.

It said it will continue to work with police and said dozens of students have been interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

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Columbus, Ohio

Services held at mosque for teen student murdered in drive-by shooting

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BLACKLICK, Ohio — The Waggoner Grove subdivision was quieter Tuesday evening than it was 24 hours after a 15-year-old was gunned down in his neighbor’s driveway. That’s because neighbors, friends, and family were attending the service for Mohamed Abdulkadir at a mosque on Mock Road at 5 p.m.

The boy’s nickname was “Honey Bun” and friends remember him as a good kid who liked to be around family and play games.

One hundred yards from the crime scene where Abdulkadir’s body lay dead underneath a sheet Monday is a church where the teen used to go to play basketball.

Pastors at Eastpointe Christian Church remember seeing Abdulkair on the court with his friends. “He was fun. A decent ball player and very respectful,” said family pastor Andre Norman. “We want to be a light to this community. We know that God has called us not only to this community but make disciples of all nations.”

The neighborhood has a lot of children. Many of the families in the area are refugees from Somalia. Abdi Farah knew the victim and said he was a fun loving kid who wasn’t supposed to die that day. “For sure I want to see an arrest. Whoever did this needs to pay for it,” said Farah.

The homeowner who lives in the house where the drive-by happened on Churchside Chase Drive said she is afraid for her six children. She said her 17-year-old son had been suspended earlier in the day after a fight at the school. Two other boys were also suspended she said for ten days. “It was a fight,” said Farah. “I don’t know why people bring guns to fights.”

Pastor Dan Stoffer said their church wants to be a bridge to the Somali community who may be feeling isolated and afraid. “We want to do whatever we can to help in the midst of this tragedy, to love on the family, take care of the kids, just kind of be that center of hope and love for our community,” said Stoffer.

The district issued a written statement from Supt. Philip Wagner:

It has been a difficult day for the school district as we are working together to ensure our students and staff are supported during this time. Our hearts especially go out to the family impacted by this tragedy.

Today and for the next few days, we will have additional counselors and teachers available at all school buildings for students and staff who are grieving. Additionally, we will continue to work to find ways for students to feel safe and supported at school. We want all to know that our first priority is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students to learn.

As with all tragedies, we could use your help. If you have any information about the events surrounding yesterday afternoon or any issues that have developed due to the events, please report them to the confidential tipline, Safer Ohio at (844) 723-3764. We have been working with the Columbus Police department to share information that assists with their investigation.

Finally, all Licking Heights events scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, 2017 for all schools will remain as scheduled. While this is a difficult time for our school district, we feel the reinforcement of a sense of normalcy is beneficial for our students. Furthermore, there will be an increased staff and security presence at school events as a means of support for all of our attendees.

Philip H. Wagner, Ph.D.

So far police aren’t talking about any suspects or motive in the case. This is the 95th Homicide of 2017 in Columbus.

The family has started a Go Fund Me account for burial expenses.

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