Malcom Shabazz, the 28-year-old grandson of Malcolm X, has reportedly been found dead in Mexico. He was in the country to meet with labor leaders and sources say that he was killed during a violent robbery attempt. Shabazz’s death was confirmed by sources who spoke with Talking Points Memo.
“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,” Miguel Ruiz, a member of the California-based labor group Rumec, told TPM. “This is all I can confirm, everything else is under investigation for the meantime.”
Shabazz’s first made national headlines when, at the age of 12, he set a house fire that would later claim the life of his grandmother and Malcolm X’s widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz. He spent four years in a juvenile detention center in New York state. His early troubles with the law were the subject of a lengthy New York Times feature in 2003.
In recent years, Shabazz followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and became an outspoken activist. He believed that his political work and family name made him a target for government surveillance. In 2011, Shabazz told the Amsterdam News, “I’ve been a target all my life. My family is targeted.”
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Last month, the Iranian state-owned news outlet Press TV published a lengthy statement attributed to Shabazz in which he claimed he was being harassed by the FBI and police in upstate New York due to time he spent in Syria and his attempts to travel to Iran. Shabazz had appeared on Iranian television in April 2012. In the statement published by Press TV, Shabazz accused multiple U.S. government agencies of having “set the climate for my grandfather’s assassination, and made my family a long-suffering casualty of COINTELPRO, and other anti-Black repression programs.”
News of Shabazz’s death first broke Thursday night on Twitter. Many of his supporters expressed sadness and outrage.