Calgary's Somali community saddened by 2 deaths in 2 days

Published: January 4, 2015

Murad Omar, 23, was found dead in an alley In the Calgary community of Rosedale on Jan. 2. (Facebook)
Murad Omar, 23, was found dead in an alley In the Calgary community of Rosedale on Jan. 2. (Facebook)
Calgary’s Somali community is mourning after two young men were slain in separate shootings in recent days.
On Friday, a man was found dead in an alley in the northwest community of Rosedale. CBC News has confirmed the victim was Murad Omar, 23. He had been living with his family in Canada for 11 years and had just returned to Calgary from a trip to Africa.
Abdullahi Ahmed, 26, was killed on Thursday in a shooting at a southwest Calgary house party that left six others injured.
Imam Abdi Hersy, a leader in Calgary’s Somali community, said he is heartbroken by the recent deaths.
Hersy said he’s lost count of how many young people from the Somali community have been killed in Alberta in recent years, but he estimates the number to be around 50.
“It’s about time. We need to do something,” he said. “The community needs help and community is part of Calgary and Alberta. They have to be treated as part of the community.”
“How long we can wait until another young victim falls short and his life to be cut short? How long?”
According to Hersy, Omar’s mother tried to stop her son from going out the night he was killed because she was worried about the shooting at New Year’s Eve party the night before. As he left the house at 1 a.m. MT, Omar insisted he wouldn’t go far.
Criminal history
According to court records, Omar had a criminal history that included convictions for assault with a weapon, uttering threats and breach of probation.
Calgary police do not believe the shootings are related, but during a press conference Friday police said “they are keeping an open mind.”
Investigators are still looking for suspects and appealing to the Somali community for help. Anyone with information is asked to contact police, their diversity resources member at 403-428-8161 or Crime Stoppers.
“We have to do something. We have to encourage our youngsters and the youth to speak up and to break the silence and to communicate and share information with the authority,” Hersy said. “Police should not be treated as the enemy.”
Hersey wants to meet with police and government leaders to help address the violence in his community.
Source: CBC

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