Malik Dunn, the 25-year-old whose Jan. 20 death led to a mistaken murder charge and a destructive and controversial SWAT raid, has become a side note, his family said.
Dunn was an aspiring rapper, had a good heart, was a kind friend and a great son, Miishia Dunn, his mother, said Friday. Dunn had three brothers, one sister and two stepbrothers.
“Malik had a hard life,” Miishia Dunn said. “When he was young, he was diagnosed with mild mental retardation. He had worked hard all his life and worked at multiple jobs.”
Malik Dunn, who had only been living in Galveston for a week and a half, recently had been working at the Jack in the Box on Broadway.
Officers arrived at the 3900 block of Sealy Street just before midnight on Jan. 20 after receiving reports of a shooting. Dunn was found at the scene and had been shot four times, police said last week.
Officers performed life-saving efforts while awaiting for Galveston EMS, police said. EMS workers took over life-saving efforts while transporting Dunn to the hospital, but he died of his wounds, police said.
In pursuit of Malik Dunn’s killer, police raided the island home of Erika Rios. Rios, her 16-year-old son, her 18-year-old daughter and her daughter’s 16-year-old friend, were asleep about 2 a.m. Sunday when the children awoke to the megaphone-amplified sound of Galveston Police Department’s SWAT unit announcing its arrival, Rios said.
The police department argues the team was following its training when it raided the house in the 5300 block of Avenue O, shattering windows with “flashbang” devices, kicking in doors and ripping out wires.
Police were searching for Cameron Vargas, 17, who had walked out the front door hours before the raid, his family said. Vargas was exonerated by police, who said they didn’t have ironclad evidence against him. He was briefly charged with murder based on the false statement of what police had thought was an eyewitness to the Jan. 20 shooting. The raid and the mistaken murder charge have grabbed headlines and raised questions and delayed the murder investigation.
Malik Dunn was found alone dying on the street, Miishia Dunn said.
“Nobody was there with him,” she said.
Miishia Dunn learned about her son’s death at 4:20 a.m. Jan. 21 in California, where she works as a technician at an oil refinery, she said.
“I received a call from Malik’s brother and they said, ‘Malik is gone. Malik is gone. He’s been shot dead,’” Miishia Dunn said. “The first time that I saw my son’s body was through FaceTime. Nobody should ever have to experience that.”
Malik Dunn’s grandmother, Beulah Mathis, also was in California when she heard the news about her grandson’s death.
“Who murdered my grandbaby?” Mathis asked. “I’m looking for someone to be arrested. I am in absolute disbelief, everything is unbelievable.”
Mathis knew something was wrong when she tried calling Dunn on the day he died and he didn’t pick up, she said.
The family seeks justice and worries the investigation is overshadowed by the controversy that followed, Miishia Dunn said.
“The police told us they have a lot of video evidence of the shooting, but for some reason can’t get to the bottom of it,” Miishia Dunn said. “I don’t know why they haven’t tried to get his phone records. I was told that the killer had also confiscated Malik’s phone.”
A day before his death, Malik was on FaceBook wearing a diamond-studded chain, live-streaming himself counting a stack of $100 bills. Miishia Dunn said the money and the chain belonged to a friend Dunn was staying with at the time.
The friend has not responded to messages since the shooting, Miishia Dunn said.
“All I need is answers,” Miishia Dunn said. “I want people to come forward and not be afraid to speak up. Imagine, if he was your child, or your brother. All I need is answers.”
What they should be more concerned about is the inability of this DA to successfully prosecute serious cases.
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