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Family of slain Ethiopian refugee buried in St. Louis awaits help from afar

Family of slain Ethiopian refugee buried in St. Louis awaits help from afar

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ST. LOUIS • After relatives and comrades of a slain St. Louis store clerk packed down the dirt over his body Tuesday, police chaplain Adil Imdad implored them to renew their faith and be good citizens.

“None of us knows when we are going to die,” Imdad told mourners at a brief funeral Tuesday for Abdulrauf Kadir. “We could die today, tomorrow or the next day. So do good to others. Do good to the people in your community.”

Kadir, 32, was shot to death Sunday afternoon at a Dutchtown corner store where he worked. An Ethiopian refugee, he was hoping to save enough money to bring his wife, son and daughter to St. Louis. Kadir was among three people killed in last weekend’s bloodshed in St. Louis from at least nine shootings.

St. Louis police say Antonio E. Muldrew, 36, walked into the corner market at 3404 Chippewa Street about 3:25 p.m. Sunday and shot Kadir several times, hitting him in the chest. Police said surveillance footage caught Muldrew raiding the cash register, lingering in the store for about 15 minutes and shooting Kadir again, this time in the head at close range, when Kadir tried to get help from customers who entered the store.

Muldrew, who is charged with murder, assault, robbery and armed criminal action, is jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, cash only. His criminal history includes convictions for drug possession, domestic assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

On Tuesday afternoon, uncles, brothers, cousins and friends from Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota and St. Louis convened to say goodbye to Kadir at the Lakewood Park Cemetery near Affton. Many of the men in the group had driven through the night after learning of Kadir’s death. The men — women typically are not allowed at Muslim graveside services — helped lower Kadir’s body into his grave on a shallow wooden crate before shoveling a mound of dirt over the remains.

Kadir arrived in St. Louis about eight months ago and was working two jobs to send money to his wife, Kuzema, his son, Kalid, 8, and daughter, Samira, 3, relatives said. He hoped to bring his family — who are at a refugee camp in Nairobi, Kenya — to St. Louis through the family petition process with help from the International Institute of St. Louis.

“This affects the whole Ethiopian community,” said Abdul Adam, 36, one of Kadir’s cousins who lives in Denver. “And (Kadir’s) dream is just vanished. It’s gone because of a mistake of one person, a cold-blooded killer.”

Anna Crosslin, president of the International Institute, told Kadir’s relatives that the institute would try to get his family to St. Louis, but she couldn’t promise the effort will succeed.

“What we can guarantee is that we will try,” Crosslin told relatives at the cemetery.

The International Institute said Ethiopians in St. Louis as well as Kadir’s mosque, the Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq in south St. Louis, were soliciting donations to cover funeral expenses. The institute is also collecting donations to help Kadir’s family in Africa. (To help, click on the "Donate Now" button below Kadir's name on the organization's website.)

One of Kadir’s brothers, Hassan Ahmed, wasn’t optimistic about their chances of reaching the United States.

“Nobody can help them now,” Ahmed said.

Convenience stores and gas stations have long been considered easy prey for robbers seeking a quick score, though national estimates say just 6 percent of robberies are at convenience marts. In the city of St. Louis, 10 of the 59 robberies at businesses through June of this year were at convenience stores, police say.

St. Louis homicide detectives have investigated at least three other deadly convenience store robberies over the past 18 months. In each of those cases, the victims were also immigrants. Surveillance images and video have played a key role in each of the investigations.

In January 2013, Anan Abdallah, 22, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, was fatally shot at Sam’s Beauty Queen supply at 3956 South Grand Boulevard. Abdallah was a friend of the owner, often visited the shop and sometimes helped out at the store.

In May of last year, Haris Gogic, 19, a Bosnian immigrant who had lived in St. Louis since 2001, was shot to death when a gunman robbed his family’s corner cellphone and convenience store at Chippewa Street and Alfred Avenue of $30. Gogic’s older brother was also shot but survived.

The following month, Mon Rai, 29, an immigrant from Bhutan, was fatally shot while working as a clerk at a 7-Eleven at Gravois Avenue and Bates Street.

Charges were filed in the killings of Abdallah and Gogic. The slaying of Rai, however, is still unsolved.

Kadir’s grave is toward the center of Lakewood Park Cemetery, off MacKenzie Road in south St. Louis County. A wooden board with Kadir’s name scrawled in black marker serves as a temporary headstone.

What mourners didn’t know was Kadir’s final resting place is right next to that of another St. Louis murder victim, Senadin Fazlic, 31, who was fatally stabbed May 19 during what police said was a drug deal in the Bevo Mill neighborhood.

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