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Hate crime murder? Man intentionally drove SUV into KC Muslim teen, police say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 15-year-old boy died after losing too much blood when his legs were severed in what police believe was an intentional attack outside the Somali Center of Kansas City Thursday evening.

He was rushed into surgery at Children's Mercy Hospital, but did not survive.

The child was getting into a car outside the Somali Center when he was hit by a man driving an SUV near Admiral Boulevard and The Paseo at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

“It became pretty clear that this was not an accidental crash, there is a considerable amount of evidence that leads us to believe it was intentional,” Sergeant Bill Mahoney with KCPD said.

According to some witnesses, the suspect is a man in his 30s and known to them. They say he is also from Somalia, but that he has a history of hating Muslims.

Family and people heavily involved with the Somali Center say a man had been threatening people in the Muslim community for months now on Facebook. Several others say that same man pointed a gun at them, threatening to kill them because of their Muslim religion.

Friday morning, Bridgett Patton, FBI Public Affairs Specialist, said the FBI has opened the case as a Federal Civil Rights investigation and potential Hate Crime violation.

"A month or two ago he came to the Somali mall, two blocks from here. Things got bad, they started arguing and he pulled a gun," Abdul Mohamed, a man who knows the victim, said.

Family told FOX 4's Megan Brilley at the crime scene that the teenage victim is the son of the Somali Center's leader, and they were devastated by the events that happened Thursday night.

"Our family is very destroyed at what happened. He's a sweet, loving kid. He doesn't deserve this," Khadra Dirir, the victim's aunt, said. "I'm pretty sure it's a hate crime from things I've been hearing. I hope that someone brings him to justice."

"He tried to leave the scene but couldn’t get anywhere in the vehicle.  He bailed out of it, started running eastbound and was apprehended by officers,” Sgt. Mahoney said.

"He can exercise his First Amendment, but him actually come and try to run over kids, that's just ridiculous. Like who does that?" said Khadra Dirir.

A second person hurt reportedly didn't suffer life-threatening injuries.

Friday is a worldwide day of congregational prayer for Muslims and some were out early Friday morning at Admiral Blvd and the Paseo, where the prayer center is located.

The Heartland Muslim Council released a statement overnight which read, in part:

"Kansas City Muslim community is deeply shocked at the hit and run, apparently intentional assault last evening outside a mosque on Admiral Boulevard in Midtown Kansas City. The attack resulted in the death of a teenager and serious injuries to another teenager. Our thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families and friends.

We ask the federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this attack as a possible hate crime.
We commend the Kansas City Police Department for apprehending the suspected killer immediately after the crime. We hope the suspect will be charged and brought to full justice.

In light of the increased attacks on the mosques across the nation, we appeal to the law enforcement departments to provide extra safety and security to the mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim businesses."

FOX 4 will continue to follow developments with this story and provide updates as information is confirmed.