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Seattle Muslims Raise Concerns About Death Of Somali Teen

The death of a Somali teenager who fell from a Capitol Hill apartment balcony has raised questions in the local Muslim community about exactly what happened.

Hamza Warsame was a student at Rainier Beach High School and also at Seattle Central College, where he was working toward college credits through the Running Start program. 

"Hamza had a plan to go to university. He had high hope and high plan," said longtime family friend Mohamed Mohamud.

Mohamud is a manager at Seattle Central and helped recruit Warsame into the early college program.

News of Warsame’s death spread after a tweet Saturday afternoon. The Seattle Fire Department said it was transporting a teen with life-threatening injuries who had fallen about 60 feet.

It happened at a Capitol Hill apartment where Warsame reportedly was working on a school assignment with another college student. 

Mohamud said the boy’s parents contacted Seattle police through the weekend, asking who was investigating their son’s death. They said the response was minimal and police initially told them nobody was assigned to the case.

“This really frustrated and angered the parents -- why the police treat this case like it’s nothing,” Mohamud said. “It’s a feeling that no parents should have to go through. It’s really sad.”

The SPD was unable to provide more detail about the interaction but did say it’s looking into the case.

And assistant chief Robert Merner is personally supervising the matter.

The death has put some Muslim students on edge at Seattle Central. On social media, some are raising fears that Warsame’s death could be linked to recent backlash against Muslims.

Police say they’re aware of community concerns and cautioned people not to race to conclusions. 

Year started with KUOW: 2006