‘An Execution’: Authorities Say Teen Plotted Fatal Shooting on Luck Street | Crime | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » Crime

‘An Execution’: Authorities Say Teen Plotted Fatal Shooting on Luck Street

By and

Published October 27, 2022 at 7:16 p.m.
Updated November 1, 2022 at 8:42 p.m.

Abdiaziz Abdhikadir, left, appeared via teleconference at his arraignment - COURTNEY LAMDIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
  • Abdiaziz Abdhikadir, left, appeared via teleconference at his arraignment
The 19-year-old man charged with fatally shooting Hussein Mubarak in July staged the killing, scouted the area near his victim’s Old North End apartment and tried to enlist friends to help him get away with it, according to court filings made public on Thursday.

“This was an execution,” acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Abdiaziz Abdhikadir pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to a charge of first-degree murder, which carries a potential sentence of 35 years to life in prison.

Mubarak, 21, was shot in the head on a Luck Street sidewalk while walking to meet his girlfriend the evening of July 7. He later died at the hospital.
Abdhikadir, who appeared by video from Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans, also denied a charge of attempted murder for an incident in February in which prosecutors allege he shot into the Mubarak family home on Riverside Avenue. Hussein Mubarak was incarcerated on a federal drug charge at the time, but his parents and siblings were inside.

The Mubarak children and Abdhikadir had known each other for years, according to statements included in court papers, having both lived in the Old North End as part of the city’s Somali Bantu immigrant community.

But through much of the past year, Abdhikadir is alleged to have targeted members of the family, Hussein Mubarak’s younger brother in particular. The Luck Street affidavit indicated that police believe the two young men exchanged gunfire in Roosevelt Park in June, striking a bystander with shrapnel. The state has not brought criminal charges related to that incident.

“This is a family that has witnessed some pretty astonishing and horrific violence in a very short amount of time,” Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George said after the hearing.

What motivated the streak of violence remains somewhat murky. “We believe there was an ongoing dispute between these families,” Murad told reporters.

Police linked Abdhikadir to the crime scene using security camera footage, witness accounts and geolocation data from his Snapchat social media account. They say he fled into woods near the Intervale and escaped to a house on West Canal Street in Winooski, where his girlfriend, a juvenile, told police she picked him up. She claimed to police that she only learned of the murder later that night from someone else.

Police searched the Winooski residence and recovered clothes matching those worn by the suspect on surveillance video.

Police believe Abdhikadir asked several friends to help carry out aspects of his plan. Less than two hours before the shooting, for instance, police say Abdhikadir messaged another Snapchat user seeking a ride and help “robbin’ somebody,” but the friend declined.
As authorities built their case, they arrested Abdhikadir in mid-July and charged him with an unrelated aggravated assault in Colchester in 2021, when they allege he shot into a bedroom where teenagers were hanging out. He has been imprisoned on that charge for the last several months.

Mubarak’s killing was the first of four homicides in Burlington so far this year. Murad described the toll as “unprecedented” in living memory and credited his department’s investigators and law enforcement partners for bringing charges in all four cases.