Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, died in Mexico city on Wednesday night, apparently after being beaten during a robbery.
Shabazz, 28, was active in the political world. He was in Mexico City to work with California-based labor organization, Rumec. Juan Ruiz, a member of Rumec, confirmed that Shabazz was visiting one of the group's leaders in Mexico. Ruiz confirmed:
“He was murdered. He was in Mexico City and I believe they attempted to rob him and he didnt allow it, so they beat him to death and he died on his way to the hospital. This is all I can confirm, everything else is under investigation for the meantime.”
A family friend announced the death on Facebook and Twitter, and Talking Points Memo confirmed the death through a source close to the situation. The State Department acknowledged that an American citizen had died, but would not confirm his identity.
Shabazz, who had a difficult youth filled with hardship and loss, was working on a book about his life at the time he was killed. He grew up in France, California, and New York, mainly with his mother Qubilah. In 1995, she was charged with planning to kill Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan, allegedly because she believed he was involved in Malcolm X's 1965 assassination. The charges were dropped.
At the age of 12, Shabazz was living with his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, when a house-fire killed her. Shabazz plead guilty to setting the fire and ultimately served four years in a juvenile facility. During his trial, he was described as a paranoid schizophrenic.
After his release, he became involved with the Bloods street gang. He was convicted of robbery in 2002 and served several years in prison. He has sporadically claimed he was harassed by the FBI, police, and some government officials. In the statement published by Press TV last month, Shabazz accused multiple U.S. government agencies of harassment:
“[They have] set the climate for my grandfather’s assassination, and made my family a long-suffering casualty of COINTELPRO, and other anti-Black repression programs.”
[Talking Points Memo, image via AP/from 1999]