REPORT #2: ‘Something has to be done eventually’: Hundreds rally and march in memory of 15-year-old killed by gunfire

That’s an old family photo of Mobarak Adam, shared by his sister after a rally and march in his memory this afternoon. He was photographed before entering Denny International Middle School, some of whose students joined today’s gathering along with hundreds of his schoolmates from Chief Sealth International HS, six days after Mobarak’s death at age 15 at Southwest Pool/Teen Life Center.

After the rally and march, his sister told reporters that the family has not heard anything from police about what they’ve learned regarding the circumstances of the gunfire that killed him.

Part of the uncertainty is complicated by the fact a camera in the center was not working. Seattle Parks confirmed that today when we asked: “There is a camera at SWTLC/Pool but unfortunately it was not working at the time. We are taking down that camera and working to get an operational camera up as soon as possible.” That’s one thing protesters asked for (last night’s announcement of the protest included others). But regardless of who was responsible for the gunfire that killed Mobarak Adam, the students who spoke decried the easy availability of guns.

They said action must be taken – from students speaking out if they see one of their peers with a gun, to leaders taking action to get guns off the street. “We’re concerned for our safety, our classmates, our neighbors,” said Mobarak’s sister. Speaking after her, City Councilmember Rob Saka promised to help, saying the death was “entirely tragic, unnecessary, and, I think, preventable”:

Another speaker urged the students to seek help for dealing with grief; when he asked for a show of hands by those who knew Mobarak, many went up, and then many went up again in a call for who wants to “end gun violence”:

That call was echoed by one of Mobarak’s brothers:

“No one deserves what happened to my brother – there has to be more regulation of these guns …people in charge, it’s their responsibility to protect us.” After tragedies, he said, “nothing is ever done … something has to be done eventually.”

Other speakers included Aneelah Afzali of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound and Chief Sealth principal Ray Morales.

“We stand with the family … we love you, we want to support you,” he said, leading the crowd in a moment of silence for Mobarak. Morales also noted that there are now memorials to two young shooting victims “within 100 feet of our school.” (The other is for Ka’Don Brown, 20, found shot to death last year on the southwest edge of the CSIHS campus.)

Then a family friend had a message for the students: “Nobody ever wins with a gun. If you want to win, sit around a table.” And a relative built on that message: “It starts with you. When you see somebody who is doing something they should not, when you see someone with a weapon,” speak up. “Our children should be able to thrive – this happens too many times.”

Shortly thereafter, the hundreds of participants marched up SW Thistle to the pool/center:

That’s where a memorial is in place near the entrance:

Nearby, after the rally ended, the sister shared her memories of a younger brother who made her laugh and was “always helpful,” with a good heart. But, she said, the protest was not just about him – but “about them” – the people whose families she hopes will never go through what just happened to hers.

-By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand, West Seattle Blog co-publishers

21 Replies to "REPORT #2: 'Something has to be done eventually': Hundreds rally and march in memory of 15-year-old killed by gunfire"

  • Smoosh January 29, 2024 (7:35 pm)

    Why link a video of some politician not saying anything and not of the young woman who organized the protest?

  • Confused January 29, 2024 (7:56 pm)

    Received this in an email from the principal pictured. Is it allowed/encouraged or not?“Please talk with your student(s) about this walkout. Once students leave our campus for unsponsored events, SPS can no longer be responsible for their safety. Please discuss your family’s expectations with your student(s) about their participation, safety, and communication with you if they choose to leave school during the day.Details about the district policies about attendance can be found on School Board Policy 3121: Attendance Policy and Superintendent Procedure 3121 SP: Attendance.“

    • WSB January 29, 2024 (8:35 pm)

      Page 9 of seems to address that.

      • Confused January 29, 2024 (8:54 pm)

        That’s helpful if the email didn’t start with, “Today, some Chief Sealth International and Denny International students participated in a student walk out. This was not a school or district-sponsored event. Our classes continued as regularly scheduled. The walk out was student and community led.”

    • Denny/Sealth Parent January 29, 2024 (9:46 pm)

      I have a child at Denny and one at Sealth. We received the same message from both principals, word for word. I took it to be district messaging. Earlier in the day, Principal Ingraham (Denny) sent a message saying Denny parents could excuse their child’s absence by emailing permission if they wanted to attend the rally. No such messaging from Sealth. 

    • Andros January 29, 2024 (10:09 pm)

      This is exactly part of the problem, though.  Why are students allowed to just leave the campus?  If they leave, then as stated it is not the responsibility of SPS…and it’s also not the responsibility of SWCC or the Seattle Parks Department.  When I was a teen, if I left school, I was going to be in big trouble the next day.  Even during my senior year.  It seems we have lost the ability to keep kids in once place and parent correctly.

    • ACG January 30, 2024 (6:21 am)

      I’m sure this verbiage is something that the SPS legal team has created and wants used to try to minimize their liability if a kid was hurt or something when attending these events. I seem to recall similar wording when reading about other planned walkouts at other schools in Seattle. 

      • Confused January 30, 2024 (10:52 am)

        Their vague language and lack of enforcement of rules possibly played a roll in Mobarack getting killed while being off campus for lunch. This never would’ve happened if they closed the campus for lunch and enforced rules…..“Families, we need your help. 45 minutes is NOT long enough for your students to walk to Westwood, order food, eat their food, talk to their friends, walk back to campus and make it on time to their class after lunch. Daily, hundreds of students are marked absent because of this. Your student is marked absent. The absences after lunch are high. They do not need to be. Help us address this. Many parents and community members ask why not implement a closed campus policy for lunch. The short answer is we do NOT have the staff to enforce this. We are a campus with 11 exterior classrooms and 12 entrances/exits. It is an impossible task to keep 1300 students on the campus. Help us. Please. Talk to your students. Reason with them. Hold them accountable. Tell them to eat lunch on campus. We have found that many students who walk to Westwood do not even buy food. They are usually walking with a friend who does not want to go alone.“

  • Orbit of Delridge January 29, 2024 (11:15 pm)

    Of course the public surveillance camera wasn’t working. And because of that the community will never know what really happened. Clearly those involved are not providing useful information to law enforcement, which makes me ill. Another child dead. Guns are a scourge — the kids are right about that — but there seems to be something going very wrong in our community. It is palpable. My daughter was set to start at Sealth next year, but this was the last straw; there is no way I will allow it.

    • Odd son January 30, 2024 (11:30 am)

      Camera hasn’t been working for a year or so. Unacceptable.

      • Andros February 1, 2024 (6:20 am)

        The camera wouldn’t have shown what happened in the bathroom, and all of the boys that were there have been identified.  That camera is not the answer here.

  • Neighbors January 29, 2024 (11:34 pm)

    What amazing siblings to bring such awareness and community into action! Mobarak is not going to be another faceless death to gun violence. 

  • Steph January 29, 2024 (11:37 pm)

    So very sorry about this tragic loss of a loved young man.  It was good the family organized this event. Hopefully it will lead to  police work in finding out what happened.  I’m surprised there are not more working cameras in the schools and recreation areas. I’m also shocked at the 12 page legalese regarding school attendance, etc.  Maybe it’s time some legal minds also discuss the contractual obligations of safety of the students who are required to attend the public schools……..

  • BDR January 29, 2024 (11:46 pm)

    Maybe this event should have been encouraged by the school for students to attend. Facing the reality of the pain of the family and friends of the student just might be enough to give one person the strength to report something they know, or report if they ever see someone with a gun. Prayers to the family and friends. 

    • D-Mom February 1, 2024 (7:16 am)

      Totally agree on this excellent point!  The community should be able to express outrage and pain over this boy’s death. The school should be leading the charge. Otherwise it is just another gun death that we all read about and move on.

  • Graciano January 30, 2024 (12:55 am)

    This is a sad loss of life…
    I’m no detective , but I bet one of Mobarak’s friends brought a gun to school and was showing it to the other kids. Not knowing any gun safety, the gun accidentally went off. The other kids got scared and ran off.  
    The kid who brought the gun and possibly another kid who pulled the trigger lives will be changed forever.

    Please lock up them guns!

  • N January 30, 2024 (5:52 am)

    This is so very sad. My condolences to the family, and a big thank you for putting all this together. It’s not easy losing a sibling. Again thank you for making others aware. I am unable to participate in big events like this due to medical issues and the crowd. My heart is still there along with everyone else. It is been way too long that nothing has been done about gun violence. I really hope this opens up some eyes to get something done. Again my prayers go out to the family and friends. Bless you all.

  • Lisa Ruiz January 30, 2024 (5:59 am)

    My heart aches for our West Seattle community with this tragic loss. Our support is strong for the school community, and their leaders, in finding a road to peace. 

  • Trudy February 1, 2024 (9:27 pm)

    My heart goes out to the family. I lost my God sister at Ballard High School when she was 16 and I was 18. Missy was an Alki, Cooper, Madison student. How many of our youth do we need to lose? How many times do local residents have to speak up that that parking lot is not safe and that  we felt a teen would have to lose their lives before it was dealt  with? Despite the warnings the area STILL did not have working cameras. Is there a gun shot monitoring device? Anything? How about not dropping gun use charges in plea deals? Second chances for teens but reinstatement of consequences in the event of a second conviction? I will pray for the family to feel the community’s love and support and to get a good nights sleep. To find joy in a good memory of him tomorrow. 

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