( 4UMF NEWS ) Track Star Shot To Death While Sitting In Parked Car:
A 20-year-old University of Nebraska student, who came to America as a refugee, was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car, authorities said.
Marlene Rashidi was a sophomore studying political science at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and was a thrower on the school’s track team. She was also an accomplished poet with dreams of becoming a public defender, according to a statement from the university.
Around 3 a.m. Sunday, Rashidi and another woman, Dezarae Mann, 23, were gunned down while sitting in different parked cars along Portia St. by 22-year-old Germichael Kennedy.
Rashidi later died from her wounds at a local hospital, while Mann remains in critical condition. It is unclear if the two women knew each other.
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Police believe Rashidi may have known Kennedy, but her family has said they never heard of him, WOWT-TV reported.
Her parents told authorities that they had no idea why their daughter was parked in that area at that time.
Hours after the shooting, Lincoln Police officers had labeled Kennedy as a suspect and when they found him, he fled from officers before pulling out a gun, WOWT-TV reported.
Two officers opened fire at Kennedy, killing him, after he refused to put down his weapons.
The officers have been placed on leave while the incident is under review, but Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said he did not believe any policies were violated, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
Rashidi and her family moved to Nebraska in 2009 after fleeing from the Democratic Republic of Congo and living as refugees in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Her brother Blaise Rashidi told local station WOWT-TV that he had no more tears left after losing his sister, but then broke down while remembering her.
“She was just a lovable person. Everybody loved her,” he said. “I wish this never happened, she didn’t deserve this.”
“I just want to know what was the reason for her death? What really happened,” said Blaise. “This man took a blessing from us. A blessing from our lives. He just took it away.”
Marlene graduated from Lincoln High School in 2014 and her track coach remembered her as a quick and powerful thrower.
“Marlene valued her faith family and friends,” coach Zo Maier said. “She overcame many adversities during her short life… As a person, Marlene had an inner strength and drive to succeed.”
Her UNK coach Brady Bonsall called her “strong, talented and confident.”
Nebraskans Against Gun Violence wrote on Facebook on Monday that the state had lost a “woman of great potential.”
“After being born in The Democratic Republic of Congo, and growing up in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe, it was the gun filled streets of Lincoln, Nebraska that killed a 20yr old Political Science student and athlete from the University of Kearney,” a statement from the organization read.
Rashidi also worked for the university’s newspaper and was a freelance writer and poet. A book of her poems titled “Refrain from Silence” is for sale on Amazon.
An excerpt from one of her poems reads, “This is for all my people who dream to accomplish,
Who dedicated themselves, who put their time and energy,
To my optimistic athletes, treat us as one of you.
We are fighters. We are one of you, because we run the same race.”
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