FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three days after the “execution style” killing of three young men at 808 Lewis St., two of them have been laid to rest. A day of remembrance was held for 23-year-old Mohamedtaha Omar and 17-year-old Muhannad Tairab on Saturday.
Police found the bodies of Omar and Tairab, along with the third victim Adam K. Mekki, 20, inside the home on Feb. 24 after responding to a “problem unknown.” The Allen County Coroner’s Office ruled their deaths homicides Friday.
Police have not released what motive could have led to the death of these men, who all immigrated from the Sudan.
The day after the killings, Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton said the men were not known to be associated with any gang activity. However, he said it was too early to say if their deaths were gang related.
Public Safety Director Rusty York added that there also was no reason to believe their deaths were because of their religion or nationality. “We do not believe that is the case at all,” he said.
But for the hundreds who gathered Saturday to mourn Omar and Tairab’s death, there was something else to think about.
“They will always be remembered as good kids,” said Abdelaziz Hassab, a relative of Omar and Tairab. “Always have been diligent to help their families and look for a better future.”
People from more than 30 states came to remember the two, some from as far as Utah, New York and Florida. Most in attendance were a part of the Sudanese and Chadian communities.
The day started with prayer at the Islamic Center of Fort Wayne and continued with loved ones saying their final goodbyes at Riverview Cemetery.
“Everybody is shocked and devastated,” said Mahdi Nouk, president of Zaghawa People’s Association of USA, an organization that celebrates the cultures of Western Sudan and East Chad.
“People got laid down and shot multiple times on the head,” Hassab said. “So this is no game. It’s serious.”
Omar and Tairab immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-2000’s.
Both Omar’s parents, as well as Tairab’s father were at the day of remembrance. Tairab’s mother is in Sudan.
Their untimely deaths have sent shockwaves of insecurity through the hearts of the parents in their community. Especially after they left the genocide happening in their native country.
“We all came here to find peace and security,” Hassab said. “We’re from the war zones, but the destiny waiting for us is real crazy.”
Nouk has two daughters who are weighing heavier on his mind since the killings.
“We come over here like we think safety and better future for our kids and these three young kids shot and killed inside the home,” he said. “That means you feel like you’re not safe even over here, the place you think that you come to have safety.”
Police Chief Hamilton came to give his condolences and a call to action.
“I need your help to solve this crime,” he said. “We cannot let this happen in our community anymore. I hope this is the very last incidence this ever happens within our community. I need you to not retaliate to take this upon yourself. I need someone to come and tell me what they know.”
On a day of prayer and remembrance, there is another word on every one’s mind: justice:
“Please, I’m asking you for your help and your mercy to bring justice for these young men,” Hamilton said.
Nouk said Omar and Tairab’s families will be meeting with Fort Wayne police on Tuesday to hear what information detectives have on the ongoing investigation.