Dec 5, 2014 12:26 PM

FBI probes Somali teen's death as a hate crime

The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Authorities say a teenager was deliberately run down and killed by a man driving an SUV outside a Somali community center in Kansas City, Missouri, and a spokeswoman said Friday that the FBI was investigating whether the crash was a hate crime.

The 15-year-old's legs were nearly severed in the crash Thursday evening, and he died later that day in a hospital. Another person was injured and was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren't life threatening.

A 30-year-old suspect was arrested when he tried to run away following the crash. Police said he had a machete and other weapons in the vehicle.

The identities of the victim and the suspect have not been released.

Kansas City police spokeswoman Kari Thompson said early Friday that the death is being investigated as a homicide.

Federal agents are assisting in the investigation and "also have opened this matter as a federal civil rights investigation as a potential hate crimes violation," according to FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton.

Patton said she couldn't release any information on why the case could be considered a hate crime, but Muslim leaders called for such an investigation early Friday.

The Kansas City Muslim community is "deeply shocked" by the death, Zulfiqar Malik, a board member with the Heartland Muslim Council, said in a news release.

A phone message left for the director of the Somali Center of Kansas City wasn't immediately returned.

Khadra Dirir, the victim's aunt, told TV station WDAF that the family was "destroyed" by what happened.

"He's a sweet, loving kid," Khadra Dirir said. "He doesn't deserve this."

Calls by The Associated Press to a number listed for Dirir rang busy.


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