Burlington 21-year-old dies in Old North End shooting; suspect remains at large
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Authorities are investigating a fatal shooting in Burlington’s Old North End Thursday night, the first homicide in the city in two years.
Police say the shooting happened on Luck Street near Intervale Avenue around 7:40 p.m. Burlington Police say 21-year-old Hussein Mubarak was shot in the head. He was rushed to the hospital but died from his injuries just before midnight.
Police say the investigation is still in the early stages and that they are currently following a few leads but do not have any suspects.
Nearby residents say they heard five shots followed by screams. “I immediately stood up and ran outside to see what was going on. Down on Luck Street, I saw somebody walking around and then I saw a white shirt and a body on the ground,” said Davis Williams, a neighbor.
Police say nobody is in custody and they are still working to determine a motive. Deputy Chief Wade Labrecque says the shooting was targeted but it’s unclear if it’s related to a series of others shootings involving rival groups. “At this moment we have nothing that points to that, other than we’re pretty certain that they at least knew each other in some sense,” he said.
Detectives were on scene Friday with a K9 unit searching for evidence and also checking in the woods near Intervale Avenue. “Initial information was that the suspect may have run north over into the Intervale, into the wooded area along the railroad tracks. We didn’t find any evidence or anything that the person actually fled in that direction,” Labrecque said.
Nearby residents who heard the gunfire say they’re scared. “I do think it instills a bit of uneasy feeling in me, just a bit less safe,” said Miles Kittell of Burlington.
“I mean, we’re scared. And I can’t imagine how the people who live here with children feel, that’s even scarier,” said Sean Naimoli of Burlington.
A close family member of Mubarak who asked not to be identified says the family is devastated. They say he had just been released from prison after serving 10 months on federal drug charges. Now, they are afraid of being targeted as well. “We don’t exactly know what is going on, why this is just coming and coming back. We don’t really understand, we don’t even know who is hunting us,” they said.
They say Mubarak was a good kid and was caring toward everyone in the community.
Police say that since they believe the shooting was targeted, there’s no reason to believe the shooter would have a reason to shoot random people in the community.
The shooting marks Burlington’s 16th gunfire incident this year. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said in a statement Friday that the homicide, the city’s first in the past two years, is part of a disturbing trend of downtown violence that has increased in the last two years.
“The Burlington Police Department has begun the hard work of identifying, finding, and apprehending the shooter, and we offer condolences to the victim’s family and those mourning him,” Weinberger said. “Murder is thankfully rare in Burlington, but for more than a decade, the investigators at BPD have closed each and every one. They have my full support as they search for a killer. While details are still emerging, early indications are that this homicide, like more than half of the past gunfire incidents, involves people who have been involved in other, previous gunfire incidents. As the police chief, the state’s attorney, and I stated last month, we are dedicated to rolling back this dangerous trend through partnerships, thorough investigations, arrests, and vigorous prosecutions.”
Both the mayor and police chief last month pointed to the depleted ranks of the police department, stemming from a City Council vote two years ago.
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