Mohamed Warfa, Osman Elmi, and Anwar Mohammed Murders: Where is Mahdi Ali Now?

When three men were killed inside a Minneapolis convenience store in 2010, the entire community and tight-knit neighborhood were left shell-shocked. Fortunately, CCTV footage could be used to bring the perpetrator/s to justice. In ‘See No Evil: Too Much Video,’ we get a detailed account of the entire case — from the motive of the crime to the extensive investigation that followed the convenience store massacre. The rare and exclusive surveillance footage coupled with interviews with the loved ones of the three deceased men helps the viewers understand the crime better.

Mohamed Warfa, Osman Elmi, and Anwar Mohammed Were Found Dead at Seward Market

Mohamed Abdi Warfa and Osman Jama Elmi were cousins, out of whom the latter became a naturalized American citizen in November 2009, just a couple of months prior to his demise. As for Warfa, he was a 30-year-old married man, who was a father to four lovely children. At the time of his death, Elmi, who was known as Abdifatah Warfa in the community, used to work at Seward Market and Halal Meat at 2431 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Both, Warfa as well as Elmi, had reportedly fled civil war in Somalia, as per their first cousin Abdi Mohamad.

Image Credit: Find a Grave

Born in the late 1970s to Badria Abdullahi, Anwar Mohammed of Brooklyn Park was a parking attendant alongside his brother Fethi Mohammed in downtown Minneapolis. The 31-year-old was married to Chaltu Nur, who was left widowed after his tragic demise. Things were going just fine in the separate lives of all three men until they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time together. On the night of January 6, 2010, while Elmi had been working at the store, his cousin Warfa showed up with a hot cup of Somali tea for him. The store was filled with customers, including Mohammed, when something unexpected happened.

The authorities were called to the convenience store and upon arriving, they found three men shot to death. While Elmi was found inside the store, Mohammed and Warfa were found just by the doorway. All three died of gunshot wounds. After taping the crime scene and collecting evidence from the crime scene, the detectives began the process of interviewing witnesses and victims’ loved ones. At first, police suspected that it was a case of a robbery gone wrong but later, they could not confirm the actual motive of the killings.

Two Teenagers Were Responsible for Killing Mohamed Warfa, Osman Elmi, and Anwar Mohammed

Thanks to the CCTV footage and the testimonies of the witnesses present in and around the store, the police learned that there were two men involved in the shooting of the Minneapolis convenience store. The two men were identified as 17-year-old Mahdi Ali and Ahmed Ali, who entered the store wearing masks while speaking Somali. The former was armed and he instructed Elmi and Warfa to the ground while the unarmed Ahmed handled a customer and an employee. A few seconds later, Mohammed walked inside the store and was shot by Mahdi immediately.

When Warfa and Elmi began running toward Mohammed, Mahdi shot Warfa before turning around and chasing down Elmi to shoot him thrice. While fleeing the scene, Mahdi paused and shot Mohammed once more in the head. All this happened in the span of just over a minute or so. Within just the next few days, the police were able to track down and arrest the two 17-year-old teenagers responsible for the triple murder, with the help of the community.

Ahmed later testified that Mahdi convinced him to partake in the robbery of Seward Market because the store reportedly had thousands of dollars in cash on site. Later, in exchange for a reduced sentence, Ahmed made a deal with the authorities that he would testify against Mahdi who pulled the trigger. Upon investigating Mahdi’s bedroom, they discovered a pair of jeans that contained the DNA of Warfa, one of his victims.

Mahdi Ali is Serving His Life Sentence But Ahmed Confessed That He Framed Mahdi

Three months after the shooting, in April 2010, Ahmed Shire Ali pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery related to the January 2010 shooting that took place in Seward Market. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to an 18-year sentence, which could be turned to 12 years with some good credit. During Mahdi Hassan Ali’s trial for the triple murder, the prosecutor used the surveillance footage to support his claims against Mahdi.

However, in Mahdi’s defense, his attorney tried convincing the jury of eight men and six women that his client was a victim of misidentification as according to him, there was no proof that Mahdi was the masked shooter that fateful night. The prosecutor then called various witnesses and other pieces of evidence that the authorities had collected while investigating the case. Finally, about 20 months after the tragic night in the convenience store, in September 2011, Mahdi Ali, aged 18, was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree murder for the January 2010 murders of Osman Elmi, his cousin Mohamed Warfa, and customer Anwar Mohammed.

On October 31, 2011, Mahdi was handed a life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of the three men, nearly two years ago. Following the sentencing, Nimo Warfa, a relative of Elmi and Warfa, addressed the court, stating, “I’m hoping that the defendant took away that he should be remorseful for what he has done, that he has caused a lot of people pain — not only one, two, three people, but numerous people, thousands of people. Because remember on January 8th of 2010, when they were buried, there were thousands of people at that graveyard to pray for those people that died.”

Several years down the line, there were some new developments in the case when Ahmed Shire Ali confessed that he framed Mahdi for a crime that someone else committed. He admitted to Fox 9 Minneapolis, “I feel guilty about that. I was protecting someone else. And he (Mahdi) ended up taking the fall for something he didn’t end up doing… I was young at the time. I had a lot of people in my ear, close family friends, closer than Mahdi. He ended up becoming the scapegoat.” As of 2021, Mahdi had been serving his life sentence at Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Park Heights.

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