White Man Charged With First-Degree Murder After Stabbing 17-Year-Old Black Boy Because the Rap Music He Was Playing Made Him Feel ‘Unsafe’

Right: 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin
Left: Michael Paul Adams
KVOA, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

A 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Peoria, Arizona, on Thursday by a man who told police he did it because the boy’s rap music made him feel “unsafe.”

In a convenience store just before 2 a.m. on July 4, Michael Paul Adams, 27, lunged at the teen and allegedly stabbed him in the back and slit his throat, according to a probable cause statement obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Adams told police he stabbed the boy because he heard him listening to rap music in his car before entering the store, and rap makes him feel “unsafe.” He also told officers that he had previously been “attacked by people … who listen to rap music,” whom he identified as black, Latino, and Native American, according to court documents, and that he believes that “people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community.”

The teen, whom local media identified as 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin, collapsed outside the store while trying to flee his attacker and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Adams was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond and is expected to appear in court July 15.

Just two days before the stabbing, Adams had been released from prison, according to Andrew Wilder, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Corrections. Adams had previously faced numerous charges, including aggravated assault of a correctional officer, assault with a weapon, marijuana violation, and theft.

His lawyer, Jacie Cotterell, told AZ Central that Adams had been homeless upon his release and did not have access to the mental health resources he needed, saying he was “set up for failure.”

“To be specific, he was given resources, he wasn’t given means to get to those resources,” Cotterell said.

Adams, however, was not designated “seriously mentally ill” and was given contact information for services in the community, “such as continuing care, housing, welfare as well as other community resources” before his release, Wilder said.

“The tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions,” Wilder added.

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SOURCE: Buzzfeed News, Julia Reinstein