by: Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:
- Suspect in Seattle double homicide arrested in New Jersey.
- Victims lured through social app, prosecutors said.
- Seattle incident be investigated as a hate crime.
- Suspect Ali Brown could get death penalty.
A man suspected of killing two young gay men in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood last month was arrested in New Jersey.
On Friday afternoon, detectives and members of a homicide task force arrested Ali Muhammad Brown in the 200 block of Mt. Pleasant Avenue in West Orange, New Jersey. A police spokesman said he was arrested without incident.
Brown also was wanted for an attempted carjacking and robbery in New Jersey. He is being held in the Essex County Correctional Center and will be turned over to the United States Marshals Service.
Brown killed Ahmed Said, 27, and Dwone Anderson-Young, 23, shortly after midnight June 1 near 29th Avenue South and South King Street, police said. The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Earlier this month, a 46-year-old man in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, was robbed at gunpoint in front of a coffee shop. Police said Brown took the man’s wallet and keys before fleeing on foot. The victim wasn’t hurt.
An Ocean County judge issued a $500,000 arrest warrant for Brown. Police said Brown is familiar with the East Orange area of New Jersey.
New Jersey radio station WOBM reported Brown also is wanted for a third homicide in Washington, but it’s is not clear which case.
Brown could get death penalty
Brown, 30, was charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder – a crime that could come with the death penalty if convicted.
“It is evident that the murders were premeditated and unprovoked and part of a common scheme or plan,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wyman Yip wrote in charging documents. “The evidence from the crime scene, Said’s vehicle, and the autopsies suggest that the victims were essentially executed.”
Both victims were shot in the head and there was no evidence of a struggle that preceded the killings. Yip said there was no evidence that the killings were motivated by a robbery, drugs or another crime. The shooting deaths happened about 2:20 a.m. June 1 -- less than 17 minutes after two witnesses saw Brown leave with the victim.
Neither Said nor Anderson-Young had a criminal history and were not armed.
Group met on Capitol Hill
The victims had been with friends at R Place, a gay nightclub at Boylston Avenue and East Pine Street on Capitol Hill. Said told the group he was meeting a “friend” outside the club when they left. One of Said’s friends had the feeling that Said hadn’t met the “friend” before.
While Said was at R Place, he was constantly on his phone and appeared to be texting on an app like Grindr or Jack’d – mobile apps used by gay men to meet others.
The group left the bar at closing time and crossed Boylston Avenue to meet with Said’s friend, but the man looked unfriendly and out of place. One of the friends in the group later told police he was “creeped out” by the man who was later identified as Brown.
After the victims were killed, Said’s gold 2001 Mitsubishi Gallant they had been riding in was found in South Seattle. There was an exorbitant amount of blood in the passenger seat. Brown’s palm print was found on the interior rear driver’s side window. Spent 9 mm shell casings that matched the casings found at the Leschi crime scene were also found in the abandoned car.
Brown’s mother told police shortly after the shooting she had purchased a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and that it was missing.
Seattle mayor met victims’ mothers
The week of the homicides, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray met with the mothers of the men who were killed walking home in Leschi from a Capitol Hill club. Neither man had a criminal history.
“It very much sounds like a hate crime," friend Tyler Rollins told KIRO 7 last month while visiting a growing memorial at the shooting site.
Rollins, who was especially close to Said, remembered him as someone everyone loved and had no enemies.
“Every time I was with him he always made me laugh, always put a smile on my face and he always touched everyone around him,” Rollins said. “He's just a good guy."
Anderson-Young just graduated from the University of Washington and was scheduled to begin his career with Microsoft, close friends said.
Police said they initially received information linking Matalepuna Malu, 26, to the homicides.
Malu was arrested after he went to the Seattle Police Department headquarters and turned himself in. His family has said police arrested the wrong man, and Malu has not been charged in the murder case.