Saturday, February 27, 2016 4:31 am
Religion, nationality ruled out in homicides
Jeff Wiehe | The Journal Gazette
They were shot multiple times.
Those were new details released by Fort Wayne police officials Friday as detectives continued to piece together what led to the killing of two men and a teenager this week – their bodies having been found inside a ground-floor room of a home on the near east side.
The Allen County coroner ruled the deaths of Mohamedtaha Omar, 23; Adam Kamel Mekki, 20; and Muhannad Adam Tairab, 17, homicides. They are the second, third and fourth in the county this year.
Police do not yet have a motive for the killings, which happened at 808 E. Lewis St. on Wednesday, but have ruled out the victims’ nationality or religion as a reason.
The men were not related, but their families – if not the victims themselves – hailed from the region of Africa that contains Chad and Sudan, Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton and Public Safety Director Rusty York both said.
While police officials did not know specifically whether the victims practiced religion, they said the community of which they were a part is heavily Muslim.
"We’re pretty certain they weren’t targeted due to that," York said.
The home where Omar, Tairab and Mekki were found had recently become a "party house" or hangout for teenagers and those in their early 20s, York and Hamilton said. The people who own the home, also from Africa, now live in Indianapolis, York said.
In the void created by their absence, younger people would come at all hours.
"A lot of people would come and go to the residence," Hamilton said. "We talked to neighbors, and a lot of young people would come and go to this house."
Hamilton said none of the victims had any known gang affiliations.
Officials do not yet know if more than one person might be involved in the killings, whether anything was taken from the home in the aftermath or whether anyone was seen leaving about the time of the three men’s deaths.
Police were called to the home about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"We don’t know enough yet," York said. "There could’ve been a disturbance in the house or an argument of some kind. We just don’t know."
Hamilton met Thursday with the fathers of two of the victims, as well as two brothers of another, plus other members of the African community to keep them abreast of the investigation and to assure them the department was doing everything it could to find whoever was behind the slayings.
He said he also called in the FBI early on, just in case the investigation began to show the victims’ nationality or religion played a role in the killings.
"I just didn’t know what direction it was going in," he said.
Hamilton plans to meet with the families and members of the African community again Tuesday to give them as much of an update as his department can on the killings.