Will the feds investigate this interracial attack? Will it become a national cause?
A 32 year old Bosnian man is dead after a fatal attack in St. Louis early Sunday morning.
Zemir Begic, who’d only been married for six months was beaten to death with hammers in front of his wife and friend.
According to CNN:
Two juveniles are in custody Sunday, suspected in the death of a man beaten with hammers on a St. Louis street.
The victim, 32-year-old Zemir Begic, suffered injuries to his head, abdomen, face and mouth, according to police.
He was unconscious by the time officers arrived. Begic was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
“Investigation revealed the victim was traveling in his vehicle when several juveniles approached his vehicle on foot and began damaging it.
“The victim exited his vehicle and the juveniles began yelling at the victim and striking him with hammers. After the assault, the juveniles fled the scene on foot,” read an incident report.
Two suspects were later located and taken into custody, police said. They are 15 and 16.
A motive for the attack was not immediately clear. An investigation is ongoing.
Some reports indicate race has already been ruled out as a motive for the violent attacks, while others say motive is as of yet unclear. Police are still looking for two other suspects, a 16 year old black male and a 15 year old hispanic male, according to Fox News St. Louis.
Another Bosnian man was attacked by a group wielding hammers an hour before the attack on Begic, but only sustained slight injuries. Seldin Dzananovic said a group of about five teens exchanged words with him, began punching him and then attacked him with a hammer. Using the back part of the hammer, Dzananovic received cuts to his throat and hands. Dzanavovic told KSDK the group insulted a family member. The man was attacked with a hammer when he went after them for insulting his family.
“One of them told me they were doing it for fun, just for the heck of it,” said the man, who asked not to be identified. “I’m shaken because it’s the first time I’ve got into a confrontation. I was just trying to protect my family, that’s all.”
Suad Nuranjkovic was in the passenger seat of the car with Begic when they were attacked by at least five teens. The Daily Mail reports:
‘I was afraid that if one of them had a gun, they were going to shoot me, so I didn’t know what to do,’ Nuranjkovic said.
He fled to a parking lot across the street.
‘The picture is in my head, what I saw,’ he said.
‘I don’t know why this is happening to Bosnians. We could go around and shoot people, too, but we just want peace.’
Begic’s wife of six months, Arijana said, ‘He didn’t deserve this. The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me.”
The Bosnian community held a spontaneous protest last night in response to the brutal murder of Begic, demanding more police action.
“The whole idea of standing out in the street is to get our attention, you’ve got my attention,” Police Chief Dotson told protesters.
The Washington Post reports:
“In Ferguson, they want to make a protest about nothing and yet that attracted attention across the nation,” Esmerovic said, adding that he didn’t believe Wilson had done anything wrong. “We’re just trying to keep more police down here because of these little thugs.”
Merosodin Salakic noted that the Ferguson protests drew a heavy police response. That’s what he wanted here.
“We’re trying to show them that what happened wasn’t right,” Salakic said.
The protesters did not chant. The protesters didn’t hurl insults at police. Some huddled around a bonfire on a garage’s parking lot. A memorial for Begic with stuffed animals began to take shape in a corner. The protesters only edged into the street whenever police showed signs of losing interest and departing.
The first waves of Bosnians began settling in St. Louis in the 1990s during the brutal Bosnian War. Today, the region is home to an estimated 60,000 refugees from Bosnia. Many live in this neighborhood in the shadow of Bevo Mill, a banquet hall topped with a massive windmill, filled with Bosnian nightclubs and grocerers.
In response, police have indicated they’re increasing foot patrols during both day and night in the Bevo Mill area where Begic was brutally murdered.
A memorial for Begic was erected in the parking lot next to where he was killed. A Gofundme campaign was launched to help pay for Begic’s funeral costs.
**Update** According to the St. Louis Police Department, a third suspect is now in custody:
A 17-yr old male has been taken into custody for homicide of Zemir Begic. A total of 3 suspects now in custody. Investigation is ongoing.
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) December 1, 2014
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