Professional MMA fighter Aaron Rajman has been identified as the victim of a West Boca, Florida home invasion. Rajman, who turned 25 years old a week ago, was shot and killed during incident, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said on July 4. Two months later, three Florida teenagers were charged in Rajman’s murder.
The Sun Sentinel reports that police say multiple men went into Rajman’s house in the Sandalfoot Cove neighborhood on July 3. They argued with him and fired at least one shot before driving away. The sheriff’s office had no motive for the shooting.
Rajman had over 800 followers on Instagram and had an inactive Twitter account. Rajman was Jewish and his religion played an important part in his life and career. He was also a teammate of UFC fighters at the American Top Team gym.
A GoFundMe page has raised over $24,000 to help Rajman’s family.
Here’s what you need to know about Rajman.
1. Summer Church, Roberto Ortiz & Jace Swinton Were Charged With the Murder of Rajman
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office told the Sun Sentinel in July that they have no motive for the fatal shooting, but were treating it as a homicide. It happened at about 10:24 p.m. on July 3. The home invasion happened just a week after he was training West Palm Beach law enforcement officers on how to use Krav Maga.
“I’m just literally at a loss for words. Everyone I talked to is sickened,” friend and fight promoter Dave Zalewski told the Sun Sentinel in July. “He was the most humble guy around, he never talked bad about people.”
CBS Miami reported that the unknown suspects fled in an unknown direction. Rajman died at the scene.
On September 4, WMUR reported that three teens were held without bail and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Rajman. The teens are Summer Church, 16; Roberto Ortiz, 18; and Jace Swinton, 18. Church was arrested on September 1 when her mother was driving her to school.
Judi Church, Church’s mother, said her daughter has been interviewed by detectives three times since the July 3 murder. Her daughter was friends with Rajman. Church was charged with premeditated capital murder, robbery and robbery home invasion with a firearm. Her mother told WMUR that she was home at the time of the murder.
WMUR reports that detectives believe four men invaded Rahman’s house. Since Church’s number was the last one on Rajman’s phone, she was questioned early in the investigation. Swinton is Church’s boyfriend.
“This was no random act of violence. Mr. Rajman was targeted by these defendants, and we intend to seek justice for the victim and his family,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a statement.
2. Rajman Had a 2-2 Record as a Pro MMA Fighter
According to MixedMartialArts.com, Rajman had a 2-2 record as an MMA professional fighter. He fought his first pro match in April 2014. His last was on May 7, 2016, losing to Luis Raul Gomez Alvarez.
Rajman had a 8-1 record as an amateur. He was listed at 5-foot, 9 and 152 lbs. He started his amateur career in 2010.
Greenberg said Rajman was recovering from a leg injury and hoped to fight again soon.
Rajman also had a feud with fellow MMA fighter Sky Moiseichik, which was well-known in the South Florida wrestling community, MMA Owl noted in 2015. The two were former friends and business partners, but their relationship went south when they got in a business dispute.
3. Rajman Was Nicknamed ‘The Matzoh Brawler’ & His Religion Was an Important Part of his Life
Rajman was nicknamed “The Matzoh Brawler” and he wrote about the importance of his Jewish heritage in a 2014 essay for MMA Futures. In the essay, he said he was born in the Bronx, New York and moved to Florida when he was four years old. He struggled with drugs while growing up, but his family helped him get clean.
“I’m most happy and successful when I can help or at least maybe inspire the people around me. MMA has been that for me, certainly my family has been tremendously supportive but I’ve been amazed how many others have as well,” Rajman wrote.
Rajman added that he has devoted more time to his family and community outside the gym. In the previous five years, he focused “a lot more on my relationship with G-d.” He also picked up cooking as a hobby and was cooking for family before the Sabbath.
In the essay, Rajman wrote:
In the gym you often hear things like “Don’t give up!”, Don’t look tired!”, “Figure it out!”. I often have to tell myself these things outside of the gym. Sure, spirituality gives a person a sense of restraint and a desire to act in a commendable way which is important for a fighter. Cooking and being nutrition conscious is good for a fighter and so is self defense. The main point though, is that everything I learn in martial arts, leaves the fight with me and becomes my character. Long story short it seems my keys to success in and out of the gym are to let my head rule over my heart, to use my body and physical resources properly and to put my training to use in every situation.
Zalewski told the Sun Sentinel that Rajman was also teaching children at a local Jewish community school.
4. Rajman’s Father Gabriel Died in 2011 at age 46 From Lymphoma Cancer
“He [was in my corner] for my first fight,” Rajman told the Sun Sentinel in October 2011. “He had a lot to do with my mental training.”
Rajman honored his father with an off-card fight at the 2011 Alpha Dog Fights 10: MMA KO’s Cancer event in West Palm Beach. Donations went to the American Cancer Society.
“I’m not doing to be fighting on the card, but what I will be doing is promoting ALS [awareness]. I don’t want to fight then because I don’t want to be doing too much, or having any distractions,” Rajman told the Sun Sentinel before the event. “Those are excuses.”
5. Rajman Was Shot Just Minutes After Another Shooting in Palm Beach County During an Attempted Robbery
Rajman was shot in the second shooting in a six-minute span in Palm Beach County. As the CBS12 reported, a man was shot in front of a Grocery Stop in Lake Worth. Police said the man is expected to survive after he was taken to a nearby hospital.
The Sun Sentinel reports that there’s no evidence that the two shootings were related.