Ahmed Al-Jumaili killing: Iraqi immigrant shot dead in Texas as he watched snow fall for first time

People have expressed outrage at the under-reporting of the story in the US under the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Sunday 08 March 2015 10:58
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Ahmed Al-Jumaili, pictured with his wife, was shot and killed while he was watching snow fall for the first time
Ahmed Al-Jumaili, pictured with his wife, was shot and killed while he was watching snow fall for the first time

A Muslim Iraqi immigrant was shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Dallas, Texas, as he watched his first snowfall.

Ahmed Al-Jumaili, 36, and his brother are reported to have run outside of their apartment after midnight on Thursday to look at the snow, while his wife Zahraa took pictures. He was then shot in a hail of gunfire that left eight bullets lodged in a parked truck at the scene.

Cotner told CNN Al-Jumaili shouted “I’m hit” before running back to his apartment. He died later at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas.

Officers “haven’t excluded” the possibility that the murder is a hate crime, Cotner told the Dallas Morning News, and police are said to be working “tirelessly” on the case.

But many have condemned the lack of media coverage initially given to the story in the US, expressing their outrage under the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter.

The shooting comes just one month after a family of three young Muslims were shot dead at their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which was condemned by their surviving family members as a hate crime, though the killer's wife maintains the shooting was over a parking dispute.

When Al-Jumaili and his family went outside to take pictures on Thursday, witnesses reported seeing between two and four men enter their apartment complex on foot, before the shooting happened.

Police are appealing for information in relation to the Dallas murder and have released footage of four men walking in the snow who are believed to be suspects in the hope of moving the investigation forward.

Residents at the apartment complex have already expressed their concerns over safety in the area, and neighbours Asad Obaid and Omar Khattab, who moved to Dallas from Egypt, told the Dallas Morning News they plan on moving out due to the shooting.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim civil liberties organisation, has urged the police to address the concerns over the motive behind the murder.

"Because of recent incidents targeting American Muslim, including the murder of three young Muslims in North Carolina, we urge law enforcement authorities to address community concerns about a motive in this case," said the organisation's executive director, Alia Salem.

Al-Jumaili had arrived in the US just 20 days before the fatal shooting. He and Zahraa had married 16 months ago, and she had travelled to the safety of her family in north Texas from Iraq, while Al-Jumaili stayed to work and save money.

When Al-Jumaili arrived in the country three weeks ago after a year of being away from his wife, she was waiting for him with a large sign reading: “I’ve waited 460 days, 11,040 hours, 662,400 minutes for this moment, welcome home.”

Dallas Police spokesman Maj. Jeff Cotner told the Dallas Morning News that for Al-Jumaili, “just like all of us, a pretty snowfall brings the child out in us”.

“You can just imagine the excitement between his wife and his brother and himself as they were enjoying the snowfall,” he added.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for any detail that could lead to an arrest of the assailants.

A ‘Silence the Violence’ reflective vigil is being held for Al-Jumaili on Sunday night at the apartment complex where he was shot.

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