Just 20 miles away from Ferguson where protests and riots started after the tragic police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a small group of people gathered in St. Louis to protest the most recent hate crime that shook the town.
32-year-old Zemir Begic, an immigrant from war-torn Bosnia was allegedly killed last Sunday by a group of hammer-wielding teenagers. According to a police report, the incident occurred while Begic was driving with his fiancé, Arijana Mujkanovic and a friend in St. Louis. Five teenagers began pounding Begic’s vehicle with the hammer prompting the Bosnian to confront the teenagers. Instead of stopping, the group struck him with hammers, causing his death at a nearby hospital.
“The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me,” Mujkanovic tearfully recounted in an interview with KSDK. Begic was called by his younger brothers as a “role model and a hero,” and his family believes that the incident was part of a string of previous crimes that involved poor minorities and Bosnians in the southwest side of the city.
— KWWL (@KWWL) December 3, 2014
The police believes that the attack was not racially motivated, but Begic’s family thinks otherwise. The victim’s family is calling on authorities to investigate all possible motives for the crime. Three suspects have been caught by the authorities and a fourth one remains at large. Robert Joseph Mitchell, a 17-year-old has been slapped with first-degree murder and armed criminal charges the morning after the attack. Two teenagers aged 15 and 16 are also in custody.
— joelcurrier (@joelcurrier) December 1, 2014
In a statement released by St. Louis Police spokeswoman Schron Jackson, she mentioned that the crime had no “connection to [Begic] being of Bosnian descent.” She added that the crime was not in any way connected to the riots that happened in Ferguson.