Update: Concord wedding crashers arraigned after reported melee, car crash, gunshot

  • Ali Dahir Hussein, 20, of Columbus, Ohio —Courtesy

  • Abdi Osman Mohamed, 18, of Erie, Penn. —Courtesy s

  • Salim Hussein, 22, of Nashville, Tenn. —Courtesy

  • Jafar Kahalid Issak, 19, of Columbus, Ohio —Courtesy

  • Salim Hussein is led into his bail hearing at the Merrimack County Superior Court on Monday, April 23, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jafar Issak (left) is escorted into the Merrimack County courthouse for his bail hearing as as sheriff’s deputy keeps an eye on Salim Hussein on Monday, April 23, 2018. The two were arrested after the wedding riot on Saturday night. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Salim Hussein sits in the Merrimack County courtroom after his bail hearing Monday, April 23, 2018. Hussein is being held on $10,000 cash bail after the wedding riot last Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 4/23/2018 11:48:05 AM

Four men from out of state crashed a wedding Saturday night at the Bektash Temple in Concord, where they wore red bandanas associated with a criminal street gang, yelled profanities and fired gunshots during a melee in the parking lot, according to police.

Members of the group told police they had not been invited to the ceremony, but that there were a number of “rivaling groups” in attendance and that violence was imminent, court documents show. Police say two of the men were armed and ready for a fight.

The 911 call was received Sunday shortly before 1:30 a.m. A witness reported hearing a gunshot and screaming, and said multiple people had fled into the woods.

When a handful of local and state law enforcement agencies responded to the temple at 189 Pembroke Road, they believed an active shooter situation was unfolding, Concord police Lt. Sean Ford said Monday. Officers encountered a wedding party of more than 300 people and numerous fights in progress, said Ford, who was among the first responders.

Police detained dozens of potential witnesses while trying to sort out what had occurred. As of Monday, investigators were still combing through the details and searching for any firearms used during the incident between rival groups, including the pistol they allege Salim Hussein fired about the time of a motor vehicle crash in the parking lot.

Hussein, 22, of Nashville, Tenn., was one of four defendants arraigned Monday afternoon in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord. Hussein and Jafar Kahalid Issak, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, each face one count of felony riot and reckless conduct with a firearm. A judge ordered both men held on high cash bail following separate hearings.

Also arrested were Abdi Osman Mohamed, 18, of Erie, Penn., and Ali Dahir Hussein, 20, of Columbus, Ohio. The men waived their arraignments on one count each of felony riot and were ordered held for lack of $2,000 bail.

Salim Hussein faced a judge Monday with the support of his two sisters, uncle and a friend who sat in courtroom benches to await the Judge Richard McNamara’s decision on bail. Defense attorney John Draghi argued Hussein’s bail be set at $10,000 cash or corporate surety, while Assistant County Attorney Jacki Smith asked for $10,000 cash-only bail, given the serious nature of the alleged crimes and his criminal record.

“The state believes the defendant is a danger to the community,” Smith told the court.

McNamara said he agreed with Smith and ordered a follow-up hearing should Hussein find the $10,000 cash to secure his release pretrial.

Police allege Hussein was driving a 2011 Chrysler that was involved in a collision not far from the entrance to the parking lot. Witnesses reported that as the Chrysler was leaving the property, Hussein was pointing a pistol out the car’s window and threatening partygoers. The driver of another vehicle observed this and responded by causing an intentional T-bone crash, police said.

Hussein was injured in the crash, and police later found him hiding in another car in the parking lot, Ford said.

Of the three men in Hussein’s group, police allege, a second was armed with a gun but did not fire it. Issak, who was also arraigned Monday, argued for his release on $750 cash-only bail.

Defense attorney Daniel Swegart told McNamara that Issak does not have a violent criminal history and waving a gun in the air isn’t the same as actually firing it. He asked McNamara to reconsider his probable cause ruling on the reckless conduct charge, arguing prosecutors didn’t meet the standard and demonstrate the potential for serious bodily injury.

But McNamara disagreed.

“It’s your position that unless it’s loaded it’s not reckless conduct in light of a melee?” he asked Swegart.

To which Swegart replied, “I think so.”

McNamara said he was not going to reconsider his decision and that questions about whether the firearm was loaded and about Issak’s intentions at the time of the incident were beyond the scope of Monday’s hearing. He ordered Issak held on $10,000 cash-only bail.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)



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