Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, has reportedly died at age 28. A family friend says Shabazz was killed Thursday in Mexico.
Shabazz was 12 years old in 1997 when he pleaded guilty to the juvenile equivalent of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree arson after starting a fire in Yonkers, N.Y., that killed his grandmother, Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s widow.
Shabazz was reportedly in Mexico as part of his work with RUMEC, a labor and construction group in California. One of the group’s leaders, Miguel Suarez, was deported to Mexico in April.
He’s a supporter of our organization,” RUMEC’s Juan Ruiz says of Shabazz in an interview with Talking Points Memo. “He went to Mexico to meet with Miguel.”
Ruiz says that while he hadn’t been in Mexico for the meeting, he had spoken to Suarez, who he says was present when Shabazz was attacked.
“He was murdered,” Ruiz tells TPM. “He was in Mexico City and I believe they attempted to rob him and he didn’t allow it, so they beat him to death and he died on his way to the hospital.”
Shabazz was born in 1984 to Qubilah Shabazz, one of six daughters of Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz. Qubilah was 4 years old when she saw her father shot to death as he delivered a speech in a Harlem ballroom in 1965.
Shabazz also served time on a 2002 attempted robbery conviction, and was released in 2005. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for smashing the window of a Yonkers doughnut shop.
In recent years, Shabazz said he was writing a memoir and traveling the country to speak out against youth violence. On his Facebook profile, he said he was attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
On his Twitter page as, he described himself as the “Grandson, name-sake and first male heir of the greatest revolutionary leader of the 20th century.”