SPD report: Hamza Warsame death an accident

Hamza-Warsame_4981When Hamza Warsame fell to his death from a Capitol Hill apartment building in December 2015, it sparked an international controversy and an outpouring of grief and outrage within Seattle’s Muslim community. Concerns spread that the promising Seattle Central College student had been the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime and the Seattle Police Department was withholding information on the case.

A Seattle Police report completed earlier this year and recently made available reveals more details on why authorities believe the 16-year-old’s death was an accident and not a hate crime. The newly released report follows the determination by the King County Medical Examiner that Warsame’s death was accidental. Chief among the new details: the teen may have been trying to jump to an adjacent roof after smoking marijuana for the first time.

The report also includes the first information released about the 21-year student who was with Warsame when he fell.

According to the documents, first reported on by the Seattle Times, Warsame arrived at an apodment building near Summit and Thomas at 2:30 PM on December 5th to work on a project with a fellow student.

The 21-year-old male classmate told police that Warsame said he never smoked marijuana before but wanted to try it. After the two smoked, the student told police he began to make some food. Soon after, around 3:30 PM, he said Warsame became “frantic” over how smoking marijuana would affect his standing as a Muslim.

Warsame said he needed air. Before the other student could react, he told police Warsame had opened the patio door, leapt over a three-foot railing, and jumped from the balcony’s ledge.

“He was saying something about religion … really weird,” the student told police. “I don’t know why… all of a sudden, he jumped off.”

A deceptively large gap between two buildings could have been a factor in the fall. A two-foot ledge extends beyond the apodment’s patio railing. Police later observed that when standing on the patio it appears the adjacent building is flush against the apodment building, when in fact there is an 11.5-foot alley separating them.Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.53.13 AM

A detective noted in a report, “It is possible he attempted to jump to another building but misjudged the distance and subsequently fell.” The King County Medical Examiner found that evidence suggested Warsame jumped from the balcony, and that it was unlikely he was pushed. According to police there were no signs of a struggle inside the apartment. Relatives of Warsame told CHS he was not suicidal or depressed.

Warsame’s blood was later found to contain “relatively high” levels of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. While Warsame’s judgement may have been impaired by the drug given to him by his classmate, King County prosecutors said that the classmate was not responsible for Warsame’s death. The office agreed with investigators that the death was accidental and did not file charges in the case.

In the course of the investigation, students at Seattle Central and others in Seattle’s Muslim community began using social media to call attention to the death with the #justice4hamza campaign. City Council District 3 rep Kshama Sawant said rising Islamophobia contributed to the wave of concern around the teen’s death.

According to police, the 21-year-old student retained a lawyer when rumors circulated that Warsame had been the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime.

Warsame attended Rainier Beach High School and was starting his first quarter at Seattle Central under the college’s Running Start program, a SCC spokesperson told CHS. Running Start allows high school juniors and seniors to take college–level classes for high school and college credit. His sister told CHS the family immigrated from Somalia to Seattle in 1994. She said Hamza wanted to attend MIT in Boston to study computer science.

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17 thoughts on “SPD report: Hamza Warsame death an accident

  1. This is so sad. One thing missing from this and other media reports is whether or not the 21 year old is facing criminal charges for supplying this child with pot. It seems that but for his use of the pot this kid would be alive today. It would seem appropriate that the 21 year old should be charged with some sort of negligent homicide or manslaughter. There were some Army guys on Ft. Lewis that were charged in the deaths of some juvenile girls that they supplied ecstasy to. The 21 year old should be facing similar charges, IMHO.

    • “whether or not the 21 year old is facing criminal charges for supplying this child with pot” — the 21 year old is not facing charges as we note above

    • That’s unfortunate. At minimum it must be a criminal act to provide a minor with marijuana. Hopefully the kid’s parents will sue the 21 year old into life long poverty.

    • @iluvcaphill

      1 – Marijuana is a far cry from ecstasy.

      2 – “King County prosecutors said that the classmate was not responsible for Warsame’s death. The office agreed with investigators that the death was accidental and did not file charges in the case.”

      These are people who’ve been investigating this tragedy for months now. That’s not to say that they’re infallible, but at least they’re informed. Conversely, to read a 1,000 word article on a neighborhood blog and go on to advocate ruining another person’s life is egregious and shameful.

    • WTF kind of stupid shit is it to say “Hopefully the kid’s parents will sue the 21 year old into life long poverty.” ?? Who would wish that on anybody? I’m sure he didn’t twist the kid’s arm. And anyway, will it bring the kid back?

      Maybe they should sue themselves for indoctrinating him into whatever kind of religious bullshit would make him ‘ “frantic” over how smoking marijuana would affect his standing as a Muslim’ ?

    • “He was saying something about religion …”

      The fault is solely with his parents or whoever brainwashed him with silly fairytales

  2. This whole situation offers many lessons about not rushing to judgement. Spend time thinking and getting the facts before acting. Too many folks, including a council member, just assumed the young man must have been killed by a anti-Islamic racist. It certainly appears that is not what happened.

    • “….Too many folks, including a council member, just assumed the young man must have been killed by a anti-Islamic racist”

      ‘When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’.

    • I would like to take the original article and comments and post it side by side here…lot’s of people were tossing the race/religion card out before anything was known.

  3. So how did crazy Sawant get her story? Oh that’s right…she made it up!

    I’m embarrassed she represents my District. I’m more embarrassed we have many stoOpid people who voted her in…again!

    BTW, anyone know how she’s spending the remainder of her salary? If I recall, she’s only going to take 40k and use the rest to to do whatever it is she’s set out to do….

    • I’m not embarrassed about her and I think she’s a great counsel member, she speaks for the underdog and she’s not crazy. So there, I’m just a crazy union proud nurse.

    • @tuck

      you are naive. sawant does not speak for you or the underdog. she spouts fanciful statements to pander to the underdogs in the hopes that she can gain political power to further her political party’s agenda. she’s in it for herself and the party line; not you and not the underdogs. you all are her stepping stones.

      the fact you can’t see that and continue to defend her poor stances and questionable successes indicates the sad state of an electorate that can be lead, like sheep, to put any kook into political office. okay, she may not be crazy but she’s not effectual and i’ve yet to see one great thing that she’s done in her 4+ years in office.

  4. No surprise here. Imagine that – someone tried and found guilty by social media justice ends up actually innocent. Shocker!

  5. The incident is indeed sad, and likely there are likely other more complicated psychological issues involved. One question that I have had from the beginning is how did these two students end up being paired on a project. One of my daughters participated in Running Start and her classes were full of other high school/Running Start students, which was our understanding of how the classes would be structured before she or her parents signed on to permission. Hamza Warsame was a 16-year-old high school student and 21 years old seems too old for a fellow Running Start Student. I think many families and students would be cautious if they thought that the high school students would be in classes where they were encouraged to socialize with the older students. I have questions about the policies regarding Running Start. I imagine that for some classes might be a little less structured for the high school senior Running Start Students. 16 years old seems a little young to be working with 21-year-old on a class project.

    • I honestly cannot imagine what contaminant you are suggesting would soil a given student of 16 years in this scenario, nor what, if anything, this has to do with the unfortunate death under discussion.

  6. And many people say that marijuana is harmless. Clearly, this case is an example of why it is not.

  7. “the teen may have been trying to jump to an adjacent roof after smoking marijuana for the first time.”
    WRONG!! the teen may have been trying to jump to an adjacent roof because (according to police in this article!) it looks like the two buildings are connected.
    Might as well say he may have been trying to jump to an adjacent roof after eating a cheese sandwich for the first time.