Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of icon Malcolm X, was killed in Mexico Thursday. The news was reported by New York’s Amsterdam News and confirmed by Terrie M. Williams, a family friend via Twitter.
Several reports around the circumstances of his death are still unconfirmed.
“I’m confirming, per U.S. Embassy, on behalf of family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X.Statement frm family 2 come,” wrote close friend of the Shabazz family Terrie M. Williams on twitter.
The Journal News , a paper from White Plains, N.Y., did directly confirm Shabazz’s death with Williams via phone.
“I mentored him and he did a lot of work with us in terms of speaking to young people,” Williams told the Journal News. “He was a very, very powerful brother.”
Juan Ruiz, a member of the California-based labor organization Rumec, told Talking Points Memo that Shabazz was in Mexico City with Miguel Suarez at the time of his murder. Ruiz asserted that the previous reports of a shooting were wrong and that Shabazz was beaten to death.
“He was murdered. He was in Mexico City and I believe they attempted to rob him and he didn’t allow it, so they beat him to death and he died on his way to the hospital,” said Ruiz. “This is all I can confirm, everything else is under investigation for the meantime.”
Officials with the State Department would not confirm Shabazz’s death, but did confirm the death of a U.S. citizen.
“We are aware of the death of a U.S. citizen in Mexico City. We have been in contact with the family members and at their request, there will be no further comment at this time,” a State Department official said in response to an inquiry about Shabazz.
Family members have also confirmed his death and said that he was in Mexico, but have not confirmed the exact location or circumstances of how Shabazz died.
Speculation on Shabazz’s murder being an assassination is intensifying.
On Tuesday, Shabazz posted to his Facebook page that “enemies” thought they could defeat him, but the “war” wasn’t over. (Click ‘Next’ on the photo at the top of the article to see Shabazz’s tweets.)
Shabazz is survived by his three-year-old daughter, Ilyasah, his mother, Qubilah, and his closest aunt, Ilyasah, among others. Shabazz was living with his grandmother Betty Shabazz, when he confessed to setting fire to her Yonkers, N.Y., home in 1997. Mrs. Shabazz died from severe burns caused by the fire. Shabazz was just 12-years-old at the time. He eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility. Years later, he told the Amsterdam News that he had not set the fire.
Shabazz was in the process of writing two books, at least one of which was a manuscript. He was attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.