Calls for justice are trending on Twitter after Elijah Al-Amin, a 17-year-old black male, was stabbed to death and his throat was slit while he was visiting a Circle K in Peoria, Arizona. Al-Amin was just two weeks away from turning 18, looking forward to his senior year. He had just gotten off work at Subway a couple hours before his death, where he was working to save up money to buy his own car. The suspect, Michael Paul Adams, who confessed to the crime, a 27-year-old white male, said he felt “unsafe” when Al-Amin was listening to rap music in the parking lot outside. The hashtag #JusticeforElijah is now trending as people call for Al-Amin’s death to be recognized as a hate crime. Here’s what you need to know about Elijah Al-Amin and what happened.
Elijah Al-Amin Was Found Face Down in Front of the Circle K Fuel Pumps, Stabbed in the Neck
Early Thursday morning around 1:30 a.m., Al-Amin was in his car at a Circle K parking lot, listening to rap music. After he went inside the Circle K, surveillance footage showed Michael Paul Adams, a 27-year-old white man, following Al-Amin and lunging at him, Phoenix New Times reported. Police said he walked up behind Al-Amin while he was standing at a soda machine inside Circle K and slit his throat, Fox 10 reported.
Al-Amin was stabbed on the right side of his neck. He was found lying face down by the fuel pumps outside the store, AZ Family reported. He died an hour after being taken to a nearby hospital.
Adams confessed to officials that he had stabbed him, Phoenix New Times reported. Police reports indicated that Adams fled the scene and was later found on 67th Avenue walking nearby with a pocket knife and blood on his body, AZ Family reported.
Adams Confessed to Police, Saying Rap Music Made Him Feel Unsafe, But Al-Amin Didn’t Do Anything to Threaten Him
Adams told Peoria police that Al-Amin’s rap music made him feel “unsafe.” He said that because he was attacked in the past by people listening to rap music, he had to be “proactive rather than reactive,” Phoenix New Times reported. He also told police that Al-Amin “did not do anything to threaten him.”
Adams had served more than two years for aggravated assault and removing a theft-detection device. He had just been released from the Arizona State Prison Complex on Tuesday when the crime occurred less than two days later, Phoenix New Times reported.
Adams’ bond was set at $1 million.
Adams’ Lawyer Said His Client Was Mentally Ill, But the Arizona Department of Corrections Disputed the Statement. He Was Arrested Twice Before for Attacking Strangers with a Deadly Weapon.
Adams’ lawyer, Jacie Cotterell, told local news that Adams was a disabled person who was “released into the world and left to fend for himself.” She said her client was “set up for failure,” BET reported.
Bill Lamoreaux, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Corrections, told Phoenix New Times that this wasn’t the case. He said Adams “was not designated seriously mentally ill.” The Arizona Department of Corrections’ full statement reads:
By law, Inmate Adams was released from ADC custody on July 2 on an absolute discharge, after completing his prison sentence. Arizona and/or federal privacy laws preclude the Department from disclosing specific confidential medical information. Prior to his release, Inmate Adams was provided contact information for services in the community such as continuing care, housing, welfare as well as other community resources. He was not designated seriously mentally ill (SMI).
Upon release, he was provided transportation from ASPC-Yuma to Maricopa County, after which he was no longer under the Department’s legal jurisdiction and the Department had no further legal authority over him.
The tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions.
According to court records found by Fox 10, Adams was arrested twice before for attacking strangers with a deadly weapon.
Al-Amin Felt Like Rap Music Gave Him a Sense of Purpose. He Worked at Subway and Taco Bell So He Could Save Up Money To Buy His Own Car.
Areanna Ivery, a colleague who had worked with Al-Amin at a local Taco Bell, told AZ Family that Al-Amin loved rap artists. “He just always said that rap artists spoke to him, [it] just gave him a sense of purpose, that he went through a lot of the things that [the artists] went through.”
Al-Amin’s mother, Serina Rides, told Fox 10 that her son had also worked at Subway and was saving up to buy a car. He was looking forward to his senior year in high school.
Al-Amin was a student at Apollo High School.
Al-Amin Wanted to Move to Seattle and Work in Hotel Management
His father told 12 News that Al-Amin wanted to move to Seattle and work in hotel management.
His dad said that his son had a lot of dreams. He had gone to Circle K after getting off work at Subway at 11:30 p.m. and was planning to meet his girlfriend. He was stabbed to death just two hours later, only two weeks away from his 18th birthday.
Al-Amin’s Mother Said She Doesn’t Want Any Other Mom to Ever Feel Her Pain
Elijah Al-Amin’s mother, Serina Rides, told Fox 10 that what happened to her son “hurts her soul” and she doesn’t want anyone else to ever feel her pain. Her Facebook profile photo was changed to a photo of her son, without any words added, and many are sharing their condolences and heartbreak with the grieving mother.
Rides told Fox 10 that Al-Amin’s father called her saying, “Something’s wrong, this is not like Elijah, he’s not home yet.”
She said the is absolutely no excuse for what happened to her son. “I don’t care that somebody’s hiding behind mental illness, there’s no excuse.”
Now Thousands Are Calling for #JusticeforElijah
Adams was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on one count of first-degree murder. Amanda Steele of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told Phoenix New Times that they were reviewing the case before deciding about charges.
While the case is under review, concerned citizens hope to convince officials to bring hate crime charges against Adams. #JusticeforElijah is trending in pursuit of having Al-Amin’s death charged as a hate crime. Here are some of the tweets shared today. Some of these will contain profanity:
Adams has a hearing scheduled for July 15.