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Somali ‘refugee’ with criminal history charged with murder of young mother in North Dakota

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A 28-year-old mother was murdered this weekend in Grand Forks, North Dakota after allegedly being shot by a refugee from Somalia with a criminal history.

Ahmed Mohamed Abdullahi, a 26-year-old Somali refugee, has been charged with murder (amended from the initial charge of manslaughter, according to Valley News Live), one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and theft of property in the fatal shooting of Megan Lea Gustafson.

Police officers were on the scene before the murder, responding to a call reporting a suspicious person. They knocked on Gustafson’s door, spoke with her, and walked away only to hear an argument escalating inside the apartment at the residence on the 1300 block of 8thAvenue North around 1:30 AM.

Law enforcement saw the door to the apartment swing open and Gustafson appeared with her back to the street and Abdullahi facing her, according to court documents reported by Valley News Live.

Officers then heard one gunshot, followed by a scream from Gustafson, and witnessed her run and fall onto the lawn. Abdullahi walked out of the apartment holding a handgun according to those same court documents.

The police tried to revive Gustafson before paramedics arrived on the scene, but she ultimately succumbed to the gunshot in her upper-neck area at Altru hospital.

As Abdullahi walked out of the apartment, officers were able to arrest him on the scene according to court documents.

The perpetrator allegedly possessed a 9 mm Taurus handgun that was reported stolen from a vehicle in Grand Forks in September 2020, according to Grand Forks Herald.

(Source: Valley News Live)

The relationship between Gustafson and Abdullahi remains unclear though police believe they did know each other in some capacity.

Gustafson’s obituary described her bright personality and her loving relationship with her daughter, Olivia:

“Growing up, Megan enjoyed spending time with her friends, time at the lake, driving the golf cart, listening to music and going for bike rides. Megan’s favorite moments were spent with her daughter, Olivia. Together, they enjoyed going to the park, playing games, reading, singing and dancing to music and even just cuddling while watching movies. Megan loved Olivia more than anything in the world! She always tried to make people feel better usually with her sense of humor and quick witted attitude. She was a kind and generous woman with a beautiful smile and infectious laugh she will be missed by so many who love her dearly.”

 

Abdullahi made his first court appearance on Monday. If convicted of murder, he could face life in prison without parole. The two other charges, unlawful possession of a firearm and theft, carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine respectively.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Grand Forks Police Department are continuing their investigation of Gustafson’s murder.

Documents show that Abdullahi plead guilty to felony assault and criminal trespass in 2016 and is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm after receiving a felony terrorizing conviction in Grand Forks County in March 2021 for threatening to shoot up a sports bar.

Kay Apfel

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