A gang of teenagers attacked a car early on Sunday morning in St. Louis and beat the newlywed driver to death with a hammer, in front of his wife and a friend.
The crime took place at around 1:15 am. Zemir Begic was driving home from a bar in St Louis when a group of teenagers surrounded his car and started banging on it. When the man stepped out of his car, he was yelled at and attacked with hammers. The assailants hit him in the head, abdomen and face and left him fatally injured. Mr. Begic was taken to St. Louis University Hospital, where he died. The victim’s wife of six months Arijana Mujkanovic told KSDK:
The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me. That is out of anger because he doesn’t deserve this and most of these people don’t even know him.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the attackers as being a group of Hispanic and black males. Two of them, ages 15 and 16, have already been taken into custody and police say that they know who the third teen suspect is.
Police have said that the attack was not related to the Ferguson protests that have shaken the city. (Scroll down for the video reports.)
1. Police said that Zemir Begic was driving in Bevo Mill early Sunday morning when a group of juveniles surrounded his car and began banging on it, beating him when he stepped out.
2. Teens clashed with Begic after attacking his car, pictured. They then turned on him beating him to death.
3. His wife of six months Arijana Mujkanovic (pictured) said: ‘The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me’.
4. An angry crowd protest Begi’s death as they insist he was killed because he was from Bosnia.
Suad Nuranjkovic was in the passenger seat when he saw a group of at least five teenagers started banging on the car. He said:
I was afraid that if one of them had a gun, they were going to shoot me, so I didn’t know what to do. He fled to a parking lot across the street. The picture is in my head, what I saw. I don’t know why this is happening to Bosnians. We could go around and shoot people, too, but we just want peace.
On the following evening, members of the Bosnian community gathered in Bevo Hill to protest Bejic’s death. Some of them have said that Begic, who came to the U.S. with his family in 1996, had been murdered because he was Bosnian. In an attempt to defuse the tension, Police Chief Sam Dotson told the crowd:
There is no indication that the gentleman last night was targeted because he was Bosnian.
Dotson said that foot patrols would be stepped up in the area as well. A GoFundMe page set up to help cover the costs of Begic’s funeral has raised $13,500 at the time of writing.
5. The police have said they do not think the attack was racially motivated — but the crowd on Sunday disagreed.
6. The attack was not related to Ferguson protests taking place in the city, police say.
7. A tribute to Begic put on a wall near where he was murdered at the weekend.
8. He was taken to St Louis University Hospital, where he later died from his horrific injuries.
9. The attack was not related to Ferguson protests taking place in the city, police say.
10. Tributes laid at the scene of Begic’s death — investigators are still searching for a motive.
11. Begic’s sister said the family immigrated to the United States while fleeing violence in Bosnia and never imagined Begic would be murdered in the US.
12. The suspects are described as being a group of Hispanic and black males by the St Louis Post-Dispatch. Pictured: Begic with friends in a photo posted on Facebook.
13. The family emigrated from Bosnia to the United States in 1996 and eventually settled in Waterloo, Iowa, said Begic’s sister from her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Pictured: Begic with friends in a photo posted on Facebook.
Here are the video reports of the tragedy:
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