Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, was fatally shot June 5 outside of Big 5 Sporting Goods in Renton. COURTESY PHOTO, Renton Police

Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, was fatally shot June 5 outside of Big 5 Sporting Goods in Renton. COURTESY PHOTO, Renton Police

Muslim civil rights group calls for swift justice in Renton shooting

Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, a Kent-Meridian student, died in June 5 incident outside store

The Seattle-based state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, calls for swift justice in the June 5 murder of 17-year-old Hazrat Ali Rohani in Renton, according to a July 1 press release.

Hazrat was walking with two friends to return an airsoft gun to Big 5 Sportings Goods when 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers came up to the teens, claiming he thought they were going to rob the store. Myers faces a second-degree murder charge for shooting Hazrat during the incident.

All three teenagers in the group were from Afghan immigrant families, and Hazrat wore a beard, a cultural way for Muslim men to show participation in religion, according to the CAIR-WA press release. Hazrat was the eldest of six children, and a junior at Kent-Meridian High School.

Myers pleaded not guilty June 24 to counts of second-degree murder and second-degree assault.

“It is painful to see another brown boy murdered at the hands of a man who is acting as a vigilante,” said Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of CAIR-WA. “Myers had no authority to stop the young men, no indication of a real threat, and, as if that isn’t enough, six of the seven shots that killed Hazrat Ali Rohani were shot into his back. We must ask ourselves how race and ethnicity played a role in Myers’ actions.”

Jamaluddin Rohani, Hazrat Ali’s father, issued the following statement.

“My family is shocked that this could happen,” Rohani said. “We are devastated. I am grieving the loss of my eldest child while continuing to work and navigating the legal case brought by the state of Washington against my son’s killer. We want to do whatever we can to do right by our son. Please keep our family in your prayers.”

According to the press release, CAIR Washington is not currently providing legal representation but is supporting the family through its Civil Rights unit and Immigrant Justice Project, in which it has been serving Afghan community members for the last several years.

King County prosecutors filed charges against Myers five days after the shooting. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Hazrat’s death as a homicide resulting from multiple gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors stated in charging documents that Myers shot Hazrat in an altercation after “[taking] it upon himself to conduct ‘overwatch’” in a Renton parking lot and observing three teenagers walking through the lot of the Big 5 and seeing one of the teenagers in possession of an airsoft gun. Myers fired multiple rounds at Hazrat while straddling a second teenager on the ground, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Hazrat was shot once in the side and six times in the back, according to charging documents

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