Police have released few details about the incident, which sparked a protest on Rio Grande Street as people threw rocks and bottles at officers. The flare-up drew 100 officers from several police agencies to the street, which houses a homeless shelter.
Police did not release the name of the teen, but family members identified him as Abdullah Mohamed, a refugee from Kenya who moved to Salt Lake with his family 11 years ago. “I was hoping and praying it wasn’t him,” said cousin Muslima Waladi, who added that the teen’s mom is “devastated.”
Police are not allowing family members to see Mohamed due to the ongoing investigation, according to Waladi. She said police told the family that doctors are “very concerned” about his condition.
“I understand that (police) don’t make the law; they just enforce it. But at the end of the day, I don’t think they had the right to shoot him,” Waladi said. She described Mohamed as a good kid who began hanging out with “the wrong people.” According to Waladi, the teen led a troubled life — drinking and skipping school — that sometimes turned violent.
According to Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking, officers were responding to an unrelated incident near Rio Grande Street on Saturday night when they saw the teen and another person beating a man with “metal objects” and ordered them to stop. When the teen continued to attack the man, officers shot him, Wilking said.