December 9, 2008
Man held in death of store owner
Victim was shot during robbery
By Emily Udell
Louisville Metro Police have arrested a man that they believe was involved in the robbery and fatal shooting of a western Louisville store owner last month.
Alexander Ruff, 23, of Louisville, was charged with murder and two counts of first-degree robbery.
The charges stem from the Nov. 24 murder of Mohamed Abdelrahman, a 37-year-old Sudanese immigrant who owned the New York Fashions clothing store in the Portland neighborhood. He was shot during a robbery at the store.
Ruff was arrested Friday after patrol officers made a traffic stop and noticed evidence in the car that was connected to the homicide, said Lt. Barry Wilkerson, head of the homicide unit. Police announced Ruff's arrest yesterday.
Family and friends of the slain man welcomed the news of the arrest at a press conference last night organized by community activist Christopher 2X.
Abdelrahman's widow, Sumaya Harun, wiped away tears as she spoke about her gratitude for the police department's efforts to capture her husband's killers.
Police initially said they were looking for two black males wearing dark hoodies but had not put out specific information on any suspects.
"They are working and they have not forgotten about it," she said through a translator. "Before there was an arrest, we were not able to sleep and maybe now we can sleep."
Abdelrahman's brother, Fawzi Abdelrahman, who lives in Ohio, said he hopes to see everyone involved in the killing brought to justice.
"This is not the end of the case," he said. "Some of them have not been caught. We want to follow this until justice is applied to them."
Wilkerson said Ruff's arrest was the product of good police work by the officers who made the traffic stop.
"It did take some luck," he said.
Abdelrahman moved to Louisville from the embattled Darfur region of Sudan in 2001 and his wife followed him several years later. They have two daughters, ages 1 and 3.
Abdelrahman was shot in the abdomen during a late-afternoon holdup at his clothing and accessory shop at 2049 Lytle St. He died at University Hospital.
Wilkerson said investigators are continuing to look for other people they believe may have been involved in the shooting and robbery. Anyone with information about the case can call or text the police department's anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD.
Ruff was stopped at an intersection near the store, Wilkerson said. According to the arrest report, police confiscated a handgun used in Abdelrahman's slaying.
Abdelrahman's friend Yasier Basheer-Gowi was among the 15 relatives and friends who gathered for yesterday's press conference.
He said news of Ruff's arrest was a "great thing" because it increases the community's safety.
"We don't want any other family in Louisville to have to go through what we had to," he said, adding that Abdelrahman was a generous, intelligent man who was working to create a better life for his family.
Harun said the most difficult thing about dealing with her husband's death is when her daughter asks when her father is coming home.
"We lost everything in our life," said Harun, speaking through a translator. "Everything that's beautiful is gone."
Readers can reach reporter Emily Udell at (502) 582-4199. Reporter Jessie Halladay contributed to this report.