Mohammed Mohamed is accused of trying to hire a hitman to murder a Houston police officer because he was upset the officer was giving him code violation tickets for his business, a plot that went awry when authorities learned about it before it could take place. Authorities faked the officer’s murder to convince Mohamed that the police officer was dead, the chief says.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo held a press conference to announce the arrest on June 26, 2018, and he also released a mugshot of the suspect. Mohamed, 47, is facing a charge of solicitation for capital murder, the chief said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mohamed Is Accused of Hiring an Undercover Officer Posing as a Hitman for $2,000
Acevedo said the officer who was targeted is a community police officer. He said such officers enforce quality of life issues. The officer has been on the force for about 20 years. “I’m very relieved thinking about how differently this could have gone if a person hadn’t approached us. We’re very thankful that someone came forward to the police department,” said the police chief. That person, who hasn’t been identified, alerted police that Mohamed wanted to hire a hitman, according to the chief.
“Now it’s up to the courts and ultimately the jury to take care of it,” Acevedo said.
The suspect wanted the officer dead because he thought the officer was interfering with his business, said the police chief. He said it would cost him thousands of dollars to bring the business up to code. At first, the suspect wanted someone to disable the officer by throwing acid in his face, alleged the chief. Then, he decided that wasn’t enough. He wanted “him killed because that’s the only way this would go away. The suspect specifically wanted to hire a hitman,” said the police chief.
He was willing to pay $2,000 for the murder, said the chief.
2. Mohamed, Who Owns a Shipping Business, Wanted the Murder to Happen After Ramadan, Authorities Allege
Mohamed also didn’t want to be extorted by the hitman, so once an undercover officer was involved, he “would always cover his face with bandannas and baseball caps” with the undercover officer who eventually met him and made a deal, the police chief said.
He “wanted our officer dead. He was adamant that he would not meet the hit man until the end of Ramadan,” Acevedo alleged, saying that Mohamed allegedly hired a hitman “because he got tickets.” Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed by Muslims throughout the world as a month involving fasts.
Eventually, Mohamed agreed to meet the undercover officer in a park, again hiding his identity, alleged the police chief. “The suspect agreed to pay $2,000 in cash and that night when he made the deal, he paid $500 in cash with an agreement that the $1,500 balance would be paid upon the execution of the heat,” the chief said.
He said the suspect owns a shipping business. He did not have a criminal history.
3. Authorities Staged the Murder of the Police Officer & Allege That Mohamed Seemed Happy When He Saw Photos
The Houston police staged the murder of the officer to make sure they had enough evidence against Mohammed Mohamed in the plot, according to the police chief.
“They made it look like they actually murdered the officer and took pictures of what appeared to be the dead officer to show the suspect,” said the chief. “They then made arrangements to stage it to make it look like it was a robbery that was botched or went sideways.”
The undercover officer told the suspect to return to the park with the rest of the money owed to him, said the chief, who called Mohamed’s alleged actions “wanton disregard for the life of a police officer.”
Acevedo said Mohamed is allegedly “an individual who has absolutely no heart and no care about the safety of others.”
4. Mohammed Mohamed Has Ties to Egypt
The SWAT team took the suspect down when he showed up at the park “again covered with a bandanna and a hat, and he had the $1,500 on his person. He was then booked,” said Acevedo.
The chief noted that authorities are hoping for no bail in the case because Mohammed Mohamed “has ties back home in Egypt” making him a potential flight risk. “We’re hopeful that no bail is given to this individual,” the chief said adding that the officer “was targeted for doing his sworn duty.”
He added “We just want the magistrates to know and the district judges who appoint these magistrates that we will be watching closely.”
5. The Police Chief Called Mohamed a ‘Dangerous Individual’
Acevedo said the suspect’s plan allegedly morphed from a plot to disable the officer with acid to having him killed.
He said anyone who would be willing to plan either of those things because they “got too many tickets… poses a serious threat to that officer and to this community.”
The police officer, who has not been named, “was being targeted for doing his sworn duty,” said Acevedo, who called the suspect “a dangerous individual.”
Authorities said Mohammed Mohamed was surprised and seemed “kind of happy” when he was shown pictures of the supposedly dead officer.