by Guy Page
Shortly after Burlington police announced they were seeking a person of interest in the July 7 slaying of Hussein Mubarak, 21 in the Old North End, a veteran crime reporter wrote on Facebook that city police have brought in for questioning a 19-year-old man with a criminal record.
Abdiaziz “Drill” Abdhikadir was arrested for violation of probation and two outstanding arrest warrants, including possession of a stolen firearm. He was in court Monday, with prosecutors asking he be held without bail, according to media reports.
In a July 15 statement, BPD said “this person was seen in the area of the murder in the minutes leading up to the shooting and was observed fleeing on foot immediately afterwards. This person is described as being a black male, of average build, wearing a large white zip-up or button-up light collared jacket. The jacket appeared to be notably larger than what would be normal, based on the size of this person. This person was seen running into the wooded area at the north end of Interval Avenue, where it intersects with Manhattan Drive. This person was then observed on the railroad tracks in the area of Intervale Road moments later.”
The BPD statement implored assistance from the public – perhaps aware that citizens face possible reprisals for speaking to police about criminals.
“Public safety is a shared responsibility. The Burlington Police Department urge members of the public to assist with this investigation. Anyone who has information about this incident and/or this person of interest is asked to contact Detective Nikki Moyer at the Burlington Police Department at (802) 540-2326.”
After the July 7 slaying, Burlington police promised an enhanced police presence in the Old North End neighborhood surrounding Roosevelt Park. Sources within the neighborhood say that despite New Americans living there requesting more police visibility, it doesn’t appear to have happened. Burlington police staffing is stretched thin due to police defunding, staff departures, and the perception that elements within state and local government consider current policing practices and training as contribution to systemic racial injustice.
On July 15, former Burlington Free Press and now independent free-lance reporter Mike Donoghue posted on his Facebook page:
“A 19-year-old Burlington man, who is wanted for questioning in the fatal shooting of a city man last week, was taken into custody Friday afternoon by local and federal authorities, officials said. Abdiaziz “Drill” Abdhikadir has been sought since the fatal shooting of Hussein Mubarak, 21, in the Old North End on the evening of Thursday July 7, authorities said.
“Mubarak was shot in the head near Luck Street and Intervale Avenue about 7:40 p.m. and died before midnight, Burlington Police said. Initial reports indicated that up to five shots may have been fired.
“Abdikadir is well known to local and state authorities. Two years ago he fled from a juvenile detention facility, but was later caught, Vermont State Police said at the time. He has had other run-ins with the law, officials said.
“Mubarak was at least the sixth — and possibly seventh — person with a drug crime record to die in Vermont by gunfire during the last six months, according to the Vermont Daily Chronicle. It warned the list of 7 cases may not be all inclusive.”
The Facebook post continues with more information about Mubarak and the escalating number of gunfire incidents in Burlington.