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Arizona Teen Killed for Playing Rap Music
By Sentinel Staff Report
Published July 12, 2019

17-year old Elijah Al-Amin was fatally stabbed outside a convenience store. His attacker says it was because of the rap music Al-Amin was playing. Photo courtesy of Al-Amin’s family via NBC News.

A 17-year old Arizona boy is dead in Peoria, Arizona after police say he was stabbed in the throat by a man at a convenience store. The attacker, identified as Michael Paul Adams, told the police that the boy’s rap music was threatening to him.

According to a statement obtained by CBS 5 Arizona, it was early Thursday morning when witnesses to the scene told police that Adams, 27, approached the teen and stabbed him in the throat. Police say they found Al-Amin face down at the gas pump of a metro Phoenix convenience store.

It was a normal night for the teenager, Elijah Al-Amin, who was stopping at the store after getting off from work around 11:30 p.m.

Witnesses at the scene had attempted to save Al-Amin’s life by applying pressure to his wound when police arrived on the scene at 1:42 a.m. After first responders tried to resuscitate Al-Amin, he was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 2:05 a.m.

The witnesses told police that Al-Amin did nothing to provoke the attack. According to one witness, Adams didn’t say anything prior to walking up to Al-Amin, grabbing him and stabbing him in the neck.

On the night of the incident, only two days had passed since Adams had been released from prison for a previous arrest.  Police say they stopped Adams as he walked away from the store with blood covering his arm and foot with a small pocket knife in his possession. He was immediately taken into custody.

Police say Adams told a detective that he stabbed Al-Amin in the back and cut his throat, according to the statement. He said Al-Amin didn’t do anything threatening but that Al-Amin was listening to rap music in his car in the parking lot, according to the statement.

“Adams stated rap music makes him feel unsafe, because in the past he has been attacked by people (Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American) who listen to rap music. Adams further stated, people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community,” the report said.

The report said that Adams said he wasn’t directly threatened by Al-Amin, who is Black, White and Latino, but that it was the rap music that made him feel unsafe.

“Adams felt he needed to be ‘Proactive rather than reactive’ and protect himself and the community from the victim,” the documents said.

This undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff Office shows 27-year-old Michael Adams who has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. Adams who was recently released from prison was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boy found face down by fuel pumps at a metro Phoenix convenience store. (Maricopa County Sheriff Office via AP)

Adams is being charged with first-degree premeditated murder. Former attorney for Adams, Jacie Cotterell said Adams has a history of mental illness, however the Department of Corrections said Adams wasn’t designated as ‘seriously mentally ill’. So far, no public defender has been appointed.

As for the family of Al-Amin, they are still in shock that someone could kill their young loved-one for no reason. The 17-year-old had a birthday coming up July 28 and was getting ready to enter his senior year in high school.

Al-Amin’s mother spoke to CNN and said she didn’t understand how anyone could think he was a threat.

“My son is so special and so loved and everyone loved him,” Serina Rides said. “He’s so compassionate and caring, so caring about everyone.”

Al-Amin who was coming from work the night of his murder, worked at Subway and Taco Bell and was hoping to get a third job.

“My son didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs, party. He loved music and working. He was focused on his goals,” said Rides. “He started mowing lawns at 13 and saving money because he wanted to own his own business very young,” she said. “He recruited other kids to work for him in the lawn business, and he was so good. I was so proud of him.”

Al-Amin’s funeral was held this Monday.

“My son’s not aggressive. My son’s never been in any gang in any affiliation with anything,” she said. “He’s a good boy. He’s a good baby. He’s my baby, and I have to bury him. I’m on my way to bury him right now.”

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