Road rage shooting victim's family seeks federal hate crimes investigation

Senate Passes Gutted Hate Crimes Bill
Senate passes hate crimes bill (1)
Senate passes hate crimes bill
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An amended hate crimes bill passed the Indiana Senate Thursday, 39-10. The bill now heads to the House.

It came on the same day family and friends said goodbye to a man shot and killed during what witnesses call a road rage incident-turned hate crime.

Mustafa Ayoubi's death became part of a passionate discussion before the passage of a stripped-down version of a hate crime bill.

"The State of Indiana absolutely needs a hate crime statute," said Arsalan Bukhari, Council on American Islamic Relations. He spoke minutes before the funeral for Ayoubi, 32. The IU Kelley School of Business grad was shot and killed last Saturday following a reported incident on I-465.

Burkari read from a statement authored by Zahra Ayoubi, the victim's sister.

"Today, we are crying tears of pain over the murder of my brother Mustafa," Burkari said.

Dustin Passarelli, 33, Plainfield, was arrested and charged with murder. Witnesses say he was yelling racial slurs at the time of the shooting.

"We have asked the FBI to start a federal investigation as a possible hate crime," Burkhari said.

Since Indiana does not have a hate crimes law, Ayoubi's family is asking for a federal investigation. One of five states without a hate crimes law, Indiana lawmakers are currently debating that very issue.

Senate Republicans stripped protected classes from the bill under consideration, inserting "including bias" in their place, sparking a sharp backlash. It was a point not lost on Sen. Jean Breaux on the Senate floor during Thursday's debate.

"Others, like the Muslim man who just this week was shot five times in the back while racial and religious slurs were being shouted by the shooter," she stated. Police say the victim in this case was shot five times but only two shots were in the back.

"I think that is hiding behind words. We have to include all Hoosiers and when you say bias, you are trying to use or excuse segments of our society and it's not good for Indiana," said Michael Saahir from the Nur-Allah Islamic Center who took part in the news conference. It was underscored in the family letter read before today's funeral.

"The person who killed my brother was yelling anti-Muslim slurs as he shot my brother to death. We ask authorities to investigate as a hate crime," Bukhari read.

For now, that will have to be a federal decision.

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