MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A well-known leader and activist in the Twin Cities Somali community is now a crime victim.

Abdirizak Bihi, who has spent the past decade connecting youth with jobs, was carjacked by some teens Monday afternoon.

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The chilly and gray Labor Day was a perfect one for soup, and that’s what brought Bihi to the Seward Community Co-op for some tomato and basil.

“I was very hungry,” Bihi said.

The father and community advocate was so hungry that he started eating in his car. Five teens then surrounded his vehicle, so he rolled the window down, thinking they may ask for help. Instead, they asked for something else.

“’We are here to collect,’ and I said, ‘Collect what?’ And they said, ‘Your car,’” Bihi said. “Some others came already around the other side, and suddenly were pulling the doors. I realized it was a carjacking, then the pepper spraying started in my face. Luckily I was wearing my glasses.”

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Suddenly the man who’s helped so many in the community needed help. He yelled at a store worker for help as the teens took his car and tried to take his wallet.

Abdirizak says the co-op staff and Minneapolis police responded quickly, and within minutes they had caught one of the suspects right down the road. He says his car was recovered, but the other teens got away.

“It’s unfortunate. They should be starting school today, they shouldn’t be hiding from the law enforcement today, they shouldn’t be in jail,” Bihi said.

He says he’s shaken up, and after 10 years of building up young people, he says he wants more help for them, and for his city.

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“I think it’s a wake-up call for us as the residents of this city to go beyond politics and figure out how we’re gonna be stay safe.”

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield