El Cajon police chief says Iraqi mom's beating is isolated incident
Chief Jim Redman said there has been no upsurge of racial hostility in the city.
“Based on the evidence thus far, we believe this is an isolated incident,” he said during a news conference.
Redman told reporters that police had not seen any “free-floating hostility” toward people of different ethnicities.
Shaima Alawadi, 32, was found unconscious in her El Cajon home Wednesday morning, and a “threatening” note was lying nearby, police said. She was taken off life support Saturday.
Alawadi, who came to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, was the mother of five children. Her body will be flown back to Iraq, where her father is a Shia Muslim cleric, for burial.
Redman said detectives had not ruled out hate crime as a possibility but are investigating other possible motives as well. The department has not named any suspects or “persons of interest.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered its assistance, and Redman said the police department would use that help “as appropriate.”
Redman would not reveal the contents of the note but reiterated that they were “threatening.” He would not say if there were fingerprints on the note.
Alawadi's husband and other members of the family have been interviewed by detectives, Redman said. The family has lived in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn and in El Cajon, two major destinations for Iraqi immigrants.
-- Tony Perry in El Cajon
Photo: Shaima Alawadi. Credit: Los Angeles Times.