Zemir Begic, 32, was engaged to be married when he was allegedly brutally beaten to death by teens wielding hammers in St. Louis, Missouri. Begic, a Bosnian immigrant, was in a car with fiancée Arijana Mujkanovic, also from Bosnia, her aunt and her aunt’s friend when the incident occurred.
The Bosnian community feared that the killing was racially motivated, but Mujkanovic told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview that she believes it was a targeted murder. A few weeks prior to the incident, Begnic fought with his mother’s former boyfriend.
“I don't think it's because of the color of the skin or that we're Bosnian,” she said. “It's set up because of the person who he had the altercation with.”
Mujkanovic, along with the St. Louis Police Department, does not believe it was a hate crime, in part because none of the assailants bothered to target her or the other passengers.
“One of the [assailants] was standing inches away from me with a hammer saying, ‘Don’t move!' so why didn't he hit me?” she said. “He had every single possible opportunity there, so I don't understand why they didn't injure the witnesses, why they just left me alone.”
Mujkanovic said that the teens began the assault by hitting their car, but turned on Begic when he exited the vehicle to confront them.
The three teenagers who are believed to have committed this violent crime are ages 15, 16 and 17 and are currently in custody. So far, the St. Louis Police Department has yet to discuss or issue a statement regarding Mujkanovic’s claims.
Begic, who escaped Bosnia’s civil war and came to the United States to seek a peaceful life as a construction worker, died within hours of being bludgeoned in his head, abdomen and face.
”He was fighting back for so long, he was quick, he did train in martial arts, but after everything unfolded, I was in shock,” Mujkanovic said. “He didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve to die the way he did.”