An Iraqi immigrant was killed in Dallas this week, gunned down just three weeks after arriving in the United States when he left his apartment to watch the first snowfall of his life.
The man, identified as 36-year-old Ahmed Al-Jumaili, was shot to death in his apartment complex early Thursday morning.
There is “extreme heartache… and no shortage of sadness for this beautiful young man who had just come to this country 20 days ago,” said Alia Salem, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.
Al-Jumaili reportedly saw snow falling out his apartment window and went outside with his wife and her brother to take pictures.
“Just like all of us, a pretty snowfall brings the child out in us,” Dallas police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. “You can just imagine the excitement between his wife and his brother and himself as they were enjoying the snowfall.”
But Al-Jumaili did not notice a group of men nearby, one of them holding a long gun. Police said at least one of them opened fire, striking the Iraqi immigrant.
Salem said the Iraqi immigrant killed may be related to a rise in anti-Muslim incidents in the neighborhood. But so far police have not been able to determine whether Ahmed Al-Jumaili was killed in a random shooting or whether he was targeted for some reason.
Witnesses said they saw a group of two to four men walking into the apartment complex just before the shooting took place, but they did not interact with Al-Jumaili.
Police said they have few leads in the shooting death of Ahmed Al-Jumaili, and are asking for anyone with information about the Iraqi immigrant killed to come forward.
“It’s very concerning to us,” Cotner said. “We alone cannot solve these crimes. This is one of those times we need someone to understand what occurred and give us the information we need to make those responsible for this action be held accountable.”
Friends and family remembered Ahmed Al-Jumaili as a man who always had a smile, one who stayed in Baghdad despite the rising violence so he could save money to bring his family to the United States. Friends said he sold everything he owned so he could move to the United States with his wife, whom he was “crazy” about.
His wife is reportedly devastated by the senseless killing.
“It’s going to take a while to collect those pieces and put them back together,” Salem said.
The Iraqi immigrant killed will be laid to rest on Saturday.
[Image via Azhar Al-Rawi]