A 19-year-old Burlington man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a first-degree murder charge in the death of Hussein Mubarak in Burlington’s Old North End in July.
Abdiaziz Abdhikadir appeared by video conference in Chittenden County Superior criminal court during his arraignment on the murder charge, as well as an attempted murder charge for allegedly firing a gun into the Mubarak residence in February. Six children and two adults were in the apartment at the time of that shooting incident, according to police.
Abdhikadir also pleaded not guilty to the attempted second-degree murder charge, and denied a charge of violating a probation condition.
The court ordered Abdhikadir held without bail. He was already in custody in the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans on unrelated charges, including charges stemming from a shooting in Colchester in 2021.
Burlington police identified Abdhikadir as a person of interest in July in connection with Mubarak’s death.
According to an affidavit written by Burlington police Detective Cpl. Nicole Moyer, police received 911 calls around 7:30 p.m. on July 7 reporting gunfire in the area of Intervale Avenue and Luck Street. Mubarak was found shot in the head in the greenbelt on Luck Street. Witnesses reported seeing a male suspect run from the scene, police said.
Mubarak’s girlfriend, Hannah LeClair, was nearby waiting for Mubarak when she heard gunshots. She reportedly drove around the corner to find Mubarak on the ground.
Police said they connected Abdhikadir to the scene through surveillance cameras and cell phone activity that showed him walking from the railroad tracks in Winooski to the scene of the shooting in Burlington before returning to Winooski.
Police said cell phone communications showed Abdhikadir asked people to burn his clothing, which police seized and connected to the clothes seen by witnesses at the scene. Police said Abdhikadir’s phone showed his internet history contained searches for “Vermont laws,” “how much years for murder,” and “21 year old dies in Old North End.”
Police allege that Mubarak’s murder was one of several gunfire incidents between Abdhikadir and individuals in the Mubarak family. According to police, Abdhikadir and the victim’s brother had exchanged gunfire in Roosevelt Park just two days prior to the Mubarak homicide.
In support of a second-degree attempted murder charge filed in court on Thursday, police allege Abdhikadir fired nine rounds into the Mubarak family’s apartment in February. Multiple bullets struck the residence, including two which went through a window. Police said two adults and six children were in the living room around 9 p.m. on Feb. 12 when the shots were fired. No one in the home was struck.
The court documents connect Abdhikadir to the February shooting through witness interviews and physical evidence, including an analysis by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which linked shell casings from the scene to a handgun allegedly used by Abdhikadir.
A police affidavit written by Burlington police Detective Cpl. Eric Kratochvil in the February shootings indicated Abdhikadir has “additional involvements with ongoing cases involving violence and extreme indifference for human life or the safety of the overall community.”
In court documents, police detailed a history of violent crimes in the last two years linked to Abdhikadir, including an assault and robbery arrest in 2020 and a 2021 arrest for aggravated assault and domestic assault. Police said during that arrest, an officer suffered a broken nose when Abdhikadir resisted being taken into custody.
Another charge of aggravated assault was brought this year after Abdhikadir allegedly brandished a gun and fired it multiple times at another person.
Police previously said that Abdhikadir had nearly two dozen arrests as of November 2021, and said that he had a “clear pattern of escalation” in his crimes over time.
Abdhikadir is due back in court for a bail hearing on Nov. 14.