Evanston news delivered free to your inbox!
On July 30, the Hakeem family held a vigil on the sidewalk at 930 Davis St., six years to the day after the murder of brothers Azim Hakeem, 38, and Mobeen Hakeem, 34. Their sister, Farheen Hakeem, and their mother, Mahjabeen Hakeem, lit candles and talked to television news crews and the RoundTable. They expressed disappointment with the Evanston Police Department’s investigation.
On July 30, 2013, Evanston police found the bodies of the Hakeem brothers in the basement of Evanston Pipe & Tobacco, 923 Davis St. Each brother suffered multiple gunshot wounds, one was shot seven times, the other five times, said Farheen Hakeem at the vigil. The pipe and tobacco shop was a family business that had operated at the same location for more than 30 years. The brothers worked at the shop for many years.
Late that Mahjabeen Hakeem became concerned when she could not reach her sons. She found that the outside door to the pipe and tobacco shop was padlocked. She called police, who conducted a premises check and found the bodies.
“There was no indication that a robbery had taken place at the scene,” said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department at the time.
In December 2013, the Evanston Police Department identified a suspect, an Evanston man who had robbed a bank in downtown Evanston and was shot and killed by police after police said he refused to drop a gun. Cmdr. Parrott said they found an identification card of one of the brothers and a Social Security card of the other brother in a storage locker used by the suspect. The storage locker, which was in the suspect’s condo building, was not owned or rented by him, but was used by him, Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable.
Police said they also found a shell casing in the locker that was consistent with the shell casings found at the scene. Cmdr. Glew told the RoundTable that the Illinois Crime Lab determined that the shell casing found in the storage locker matched those found at the murder scene. But the Commander told the RoundTable that Illinois Crime Lab also found that the suspect’s DNA and fingerprints did not match the DNA and fingerprints collected at the murder scene. He added that the murderer could have taken steps to avoid leaving DNA and fingerprints at the scene.
Police also said they determined that the suspect had bought a pistol that was the same type of weapon they believed was used in the murders, but they were not able to locate the pistol. The handgun the suspect was holding when he was shot by police was not the type of weapon used in the murders of the Hakeem brothers.
Farheen Hakeem told reporters at the vigil last week that the person identified by police as a suspect in December 2013 might have been involved, but she did not think he was the one who murdered her brothers. She said, “There is not enough evidence to convince us he was the murderer.” She said the suspect apologized to the bank teller he was robbing, and he did not seem like the type of person who would murder someone by shooting them multiple times. She added there was no motive, and that police did not find the weapon.
Mahjabeen Hakeem added, “He was a robber. He is not a killer.” She added that nothing was taken from the store, “not even a penny.”
“I want information,” said Farheen Hakeem. “I want to know what happened to my brothers. I very much believe my brothers’ killer is still out there.”
She said she thinks there are three people who should be investigated, and added that she felt that the Police Department did not take the case seriously because her brothers were Muslims.
Cmdr. Ryan Glew told the RoundTable on July 31, 2019 and he told Farheen Hakeem in a letter dated May 21, 2019, that police could not determine if the suspect police identified was the only person involved, that the case was not closed, and that any new information would be investigated and followed up on.
He told the RoundTable, “We investigate all cases with the same amount of diligence and thoroughness, without regard to the race or religion of the victim or offender.”
He said that the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force was brought in and assisted in the investigation of the murders of the Hakeem brothers for 10 days, which is the maximum that the task force will assist. After that, Evanston police detectives continued the investigation. He estimated that more than 3,000 hours were spent investigating the murders, not counting the time spent on forensics.