By Erin Hassanzadeh
Thursday April 29, 2021
Liibaan Baqarre (credit: CBS)
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police say a suspect has been arrested in connection to a fatal robbery at a Cedar-Riverside neighborhood business.
According to police, the 30-year-old suspect was arrested in St. Paul early Wednesday morning and booked into jail.
The fatal shooting happened Tuesday at about 7 p.m. at a shop on the 400 block of Cedar Avenue. The initial investigation determined that a man entered the store and attempted to rob it before shooting 40-year-old store clerk Liibaan Baqarre multiple times. The suspect fled in a car after the shooting. Baqarre was later pronounced dead at Hennepin Healthcare.
The suspect has a history of robbery crimes, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
A vigil was held Wednesday evening across the street from where Baqarre was shot and killed. Many know him as the store clerk, but he was also a husband and father of four young children. Area resident Abdirahman Mukhtar says he was a beloved community member.
“Everyone loved him,” Mukhtar said. “His kids will not see him again, and some of them are too young to know exactly what happened. They will be wondering, you know, ‘Where is dad?’”
The murder is stirring doubts about neighborhood security, and renews conversations about how to make the area safer. Russom Solomon lives in the neighborhood.
“Somebody have the guts to park a car, go shoot somebody and leave,” Solomon said. “We used to have beat officers here who were stationed here, who knew the neighborhood … who were dedicated in this area. Because of the shortage, the police now, they’re no longer here.”Community leader Abdirizak Bihi, who lives in the neighborhood, ran to the store to help while walking home from work Tuesday night after seeing emergency vehicles.
“I talked to witnesses who were shaking and they told me that the suspect was sitting there as a customer and suddenly stood up and demanded money,” Bihi said.
He says the store is vital to this community, which is a primarily Somali-American neighborhood, selling cellphones, chargers and performing money transfers throughout the pandemic.
“The store is always crowded. We send money. It’s Ramadan month. We support refugees in camps. We’re supporting family members in Somalia,” Bihi said.
Now, this holy month leaves a community hurting.
“[Baqarre] was highly loved and trusted. I’ve never seen grown Somali men cry in my life. I mean, that’s how he was loved,” Bihi said.
Community members tell WCCO they think there was a getaway driver involved as well. They would like to see that person held responsible.
“It takes a village, and we’re trying with everything that’s happening,” Mukhtar said. “We’re trying to stay that village that is, you know, supporting each other.”
Since the incident members of the community have set up a GoFundMe page for the Baqarre family.WCCO does not typically name suspects until they are formally charged. Police say this is the 24th homicide in the city since the beginning of the year.