Attorney: Man who killed black teen over rap music is mentally ill

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2019

Areanna Ivery, who worked with Elijah at Taco Bell for a year, told KPHO and Al-Amin bonded over his passion for rap.

Police say at about 1:45 a.m. local time Elijah Alamin was inside a convenience store when the suspect, Michael Adams, 27, came up behind him and stabbed him on the right side of the throat.

Adams told authorities rap music makes him feel "unsafe" and he had an incident with someone who listened to the genre in the past.

Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate are speaking out on Twitter about the killing of a 17-year-old black youth at a suburban convenience store by a white man who said he was threatened by the boy's rap music. He was identified as Michael Paul Adams, 27. Al-Amin spoke to him on the phone, teasingly asking him to bring back some cookies or a sandwich, but Elijah said he wanted to see his girlfriend after work. He also told investigators that he "needed to be proactive than reactive and protect himself and the community from the victim".

Michael Dunn, who is white, was later convicted of first-degree murder in that earlier killing, a shooting that erupted during an argument about loud music coming from a auto carrying Davis and three other black teenagers. Rahim Al-Amin said. "I mean like, if he asked Elijah to turn it down, he would've probably turned it down".

He continued, "You took a helluva kid..."

Multiple news outlets and social media posts named the victim as Elijah Al-Amin from Glendale.

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"I understand what he did was awful", she said, according to the station.

Today, the hashtag #JusticeforElijah is trending nationally, as prominent activists are calling on the police to recognize the killing as a hate crime and avoid using mental illness as a shield for white supremacy.

About his son's love of music, Al-Amin said Elijah liked rap artists who had a message, like Nipsey Hussle and Tupac Shakur.

"Another one of our children has been murdered in a heinous and unprovoked way - the DOJ must investigate this hate crime immediately", Sen. "RIP Elijah. #JusticeForElijah", he tweeted. "The suspect then left the store on foot", the Peoria Police Department told PEOPLE.

Arizona statutes do not include a criminal charge for hate crimes, but there is enhanced sentencing for crimes motivated by bias. "It's not completely off the table", Sheffert said.

Others, including Al-Amin's family, were unhappy with reports quoting Adams's attorney, Jacie Cotterell, who said her client had known mental health issues upon his release from prison July 2. Every time a White man kills he's "mentally ill". Many people on Twitter believe Adams should not be viewed as the victim and mental health issues can not always be a means for white extremism to be justified.

The Arizona Department of Corrections said Adams wasn't designated as seriously mentally ill. Witnesses and police attempted to render aid by applying pressure to his neck, but he was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later.

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