Man Shot Dead Outside Brooklyn Center Hotel
James Schugel BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (WCCO) ― Police in Brooklyn Center are investigating a fatal shooting that happened outside the Crown Plaza Hotel Wednesday morning.
Mohamed Jama, 31 was shot and killed around 4:30 a.m. outside the hotel, which is located at 2200 Freeway Boulevard.
Police are currently interviewing hundreds of people to see if anyone saw anything. The hotel was at 80 percent capacity at the time of the shooting, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Scott Bechthold said.
Bechthold said there was a fight in a hotel about a half-hour before the shooting. Police do not yet know if that fight is related to the shooting.
Friends said Jama pushed peace, not violence.
"It's very sad," said his friend Abdirizak Bihi. "He was very committed to work with the youth."
Jama used his many talents to inspire Somali children. He was a basketball coach and soccer coach. Even more importantly, he was a mentor to the children who come to the Brian Coyle Community Center located in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis.
He taught the children how to play ball, just like counselors taught him when he came here as a child.
Jama was married with a child.
Friends believe he was visiting Somali basketball teams from around the country that were staying at the hotel while they were in town for a tournament.
"We do not believe this is a random act," said Bechthold. "We convey our condolences to the victim's family, for the loss of a son, husband and father."
Police don't know yet if the bullet was meant for the Jama, but his friends are sure it was not.
"It's highly possible that he was mediating a situation," said Bihi, who thinks his friend got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Investigators do need the public's help to find who killed Mohamed. They don't know yet if a gang might have been behind the murder.
The Brooklyn Center Police Chief has exchanged information with Minneapolis Police Detectives to see if there's any link between other crimes in the Twin Cities and this one.
"The public's help is going to be vital to identify the people responsible for this incident," Bechthold said.
Community activists say enough is enough and that this murder is a wake-up call to the community.
"We reached a level where it's a concern. I think it's getting out of hand," said Omar Jamal, head of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis.
Jamal is now working with Chief Bechthold to find a solution to the violence.
Friends said Jama risked his life to talk with people and help them. He pushed children at the community center to get off the streets and into school.
Now, the Somali community is left to find a new leader to take his place.
"We need a lot of help," Bihi said.