Seward Market shootings still haunt witnesses

Today's sentencing of Seward Market killer Mahdi Hassan Ali means the legal chapter of the story is nearly over. Ali is expected to file an appeal. But for the relatives of the three slain men, there will continue to be a painful hole in their lives. Others have lasting memories from the night of Jan. 6, 2010 that will be hard to forget.

Jamilla Ahmed went to the Seward Market to buy some Somali coffee. When she had trouble finding the coffee, a store helper named Youb Ala came to the back of the store to help her. Seconds later, a masked man grabbed the two of them and told them not to move. Shots rang out at the front of the store and the masked man fled. Jamilla and Youb ran to a back hallway and climbed into a beverage cooler. Jamilla called 911.

The following is a recording of her frantic call for help:

When Ahmed testified during trial, she cried as she heard her voice on the recordings. She said it still upset her to relive the events of that night.

Peter Fleck lives near the Seward Market, and was walking by the store when the shots rang out inside. He made a roundabout trek to the front of the store because he said he saw a man come out of the store and hurry down the sidewalk toward him. Fleck feared the man had a gun. When he got to the front of the store, he saw two men lying dead or dying near the front of the door.

He called 911 to describe the scene:

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.