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Dallas Police Make Arrest In Murder Of Iraqi Migrant

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today Dallas police announced the arrest of a 17-year-old suspect in the murder of a recently arrived Iraqi refugee. We reported on the shooting death yesterday, which has shaken the Dallas-Fort Worth Muslim community. Stella Chavez from member station KERA brings us this report.

STELLA CHAVEZ, BYLINE: Thirty-six-year-old Ahmed Al-Jumaili had been in the U.S. only 20 days when he stepped out to enjoy a rare north Texas snowfall. He was standing with his wife and brother taking photographs when he was struck by bullets fired from an assault rifle. Today police identified the shooting suspect as Nykerion Nealon. Mjr. Jeff Cotner told reporters that surveillance video and a witness led to an arrest.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

JEFF COTNER: Nealon provided a conflicting story, placing himself at the murder scene but he blamed the shooting on the witness.

CHAVEZ: However, during a search of Nealon's room, police found an unfired rifle cartridge, the same kind used in Al-Jumaili's murder. Police say witnesses have corroborated that Nealon was looking for revenge. Allegedly, someone had earlier fired shots at his girlfriend's apartment.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

COTNER: He shot at them with intent. And as Mr. Al-Jumaili ran back towards his apartment, the breezeway, he tracked him with a rifle and continued to fire.

ALIA SALEM: Our community has been at a loss for words and very saddened by this tragic death.

CHAVEZ: Alia Salem, who leads the local Council on American-Islamic Relations, added, Mr. Al-Jumaili's family believes this arrest is the first step in seeing justice served. For NPR News, I'm Stella Chavez in Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

StellaChávezisKERA’seducation reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years atThe Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35. The award-winning entry was “Yolanda’s Crossing,” a seven-partDMN series she co-wrote that reconstructs the 5,000-mile journey of a young Mexican sexual-abuse victim from a smallOaxacanvillage to Dallas. For the last two years, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,where she was part of the agency’s outreach efforts on the Affordable Care Act and ran the regional office’s social media efforts.

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