UPDATE: Murder charges filed in hammer beating death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Murder charges filed in hammer beating death

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Zemir Begic (Courtesy Facebook) Zemir Begic (Courtesy Facebook)
Zemir Begic (Photos courtesy Facebook) Zemir Begic (Photos courtesy Facebook)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -

A Waterloo native was beaten to death with hammers by a group of juveniles early Sunday morning on a St. Louis street, police said.

Officers found Zemir Begic, 32, unconscious at approximately 1:15 a.m. Sunday in the 4200 block of Itaska, according to St. Louis Metro Police.

Begic had been traveling in his car early Sunday when several minors approached on foot and began damaging it.

Begic got out of the car, and that's when the juveniles began to yell and attack him with hammers, according to police.

The victim suffered injuries injuries to his head, abdomen, face, and mouth. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

Begic was a native of Waterloo who was a student in the Waterloo district but graduated elsewhere, according to Waterloo Schools spokeswoman Tara Thomas.

According to his Facebook page, Begic attended Waterloo West and graduated from a high school in Proctor, Minnesota. He also recently got married.

Amra Begic, of Waterloo, was Zemir's cousin. She remembers growing up together.

“He was so full of life,” she said. “He loved to go out. He loved to sing. He loved to help others. He was a really hard worker.”

Two of the teenagers involved in the attack — a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old male — were in custody Sunday evening, according to NBC News. A 17-year-old male, Robert Mitchell, was also taken into custody for Begic's homicide, the St. Louis Police Department tweeted on Monday morning.

Mitchell has been charged with 1st Degree Murder and Armed Criminal Action.

His cousin said she wants justice – murder charges for the other teens, and for their names to be released. She said she believe it was a hate crime. St. Louis Police believe race was not a factor in the attack.

“I don't know if Missouri has the death penalty, but in this case, an eye for an eye,” Amra Begic said. “I think that's how everyone in the Bosnian community feels that at this point.”

Investigators are still working to determine a motive for the gruesome attack, said Leah Freeman, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

About 50 people briefly blocked an intersection Sunday night to protest the killing of Begic, a Bosnian man who moved to St. Louis this year, according to the Associated Press.

St. Louis police Chief Sam Dotson spoke with residents during the street protest. He said the killing did not appear to be motivated by race or ethnicity. A motive hasn't been released.

A Facebook page, JusticeforZemir, has sprung up in the wake of Begic's death, as well as a Go Fund Me page for funeral arrangements for Begic.


JusticeforZemir: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeforZemir/timeline

Go Fund Me: http://www.gofundme.com/i0hi58?fb_action_ids=1502720896659933&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_ref=fb_cr_n
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