The Grio.com reports--Malcolm Shabazz, the 27-year-old grandson of the late Malcolm X, is dead, as reported by the Amsterdam News on Thursday and later confirmed by the U.S. embassy.
According to the paper, Shabazz was killed in Mexico, and died in the early morning hours Thursday, “from injuries sustained after he was thrown off a building or shot as he was being robbed in Tijuana.” A border reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune, Sandra Dibble, Tweeted Thursday night that Shabazz may have “resisted a robbery.”
It was not clear whether he died in Tijuana or Mexico City, and the circumstances of his death remained unclear Thursday night.
Family friend Terrie M. Williams posted the following statement on Twitter:
“I’m confirming, per U.S. Embassy, on behalf of family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X. Statement frm family 2 come.”
Williams later tweeted that “details are sketchy” regarding the location, and that all that can be confirmed now is his death. She later confirmed Shabazz’s death to theGrio via email, but said there were no details yet.
The family has not yet made a public statement.
Shabazz’s early years were fraught with difficulty, including long separations from his mother, and an arrest at age 12 for setting a fire in his grandmother Betty Shabazz’s New York apartment, where he was living. The fire left Mrs. Shabazz with severe burns over 80 percent of her body, which led to her death on June 23, 1997.
Two years later, the young man who was described during a court hearing as “psychotic and schizophrenic” pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson and was sentenced to 18 months in juvenile detention, which the court stated could be extended until he turned 18. He was released after four years.
Expressing remorse for the fire, Shabazz told the in a 2003 interview that he set the fire hoping to be “bad” enough to be sent back to his mother, Qubilah Shabazz, who was undergoing court-ordered counseling and drug and alcohol treatment in Philadelphia as part of a 1995 plea agreement on charges she participated in an alleged plot to assassinate Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Shabazz’s troubles didn’t end there. He was arrested for Burglary in 2002, and was detained by the FBI in February on his way to Iran, to attend a film conference called “Hollywoodism.” He wrote about the detention on his blog in March, saying “Given the storm of lies, and half-truths that come with being associated with being the descendant of El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, also known as Minister Malcolm X, any and everything that I do; great or small, good or not so good, real or imagined is subject to controversy.”
And he alleged that in 2012, he was informed that he was “under investigation by the F.B.I.’s Counter Terrorism Task Force Unit located in Goshen, N.Y.”
At the time of his death, Shabazz was reportedly working on a book, and attending the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
He may have been traveling in Mexico with his friend, labor activist Juan Ruiz.
Shabazz is survived by his mother, aunts, and two daughters.
His final , posted on Wednesday, confirmed his identity to a skeptical fellow social media user. “I am the grandson of Malcolm X, Yes…..”