A third teenager has been taken into custody in connection with the fatal attack on a South City man in St. Louis which occurred early Sunday morning. Now the victim's family is calling for all involved to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Zemir Bergic, 32, was found unconscious on the 4200 block of Itaska at 1:15 a.m. Sunday. He had apparent injuries to the head, abdomen and face, and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities say that “several juveniles” approached Bergic in his vehicle and began damaging it. When Bergic stepped out to confront the group of teens, they attacked him with hammers. According to St. Louis Today, Bergic was beaten to death protecting his wife, who was with him in the car.
The Daily Mail reports that the teens in question consisted of "a group of Hispanic and black males."
Two suspects, ages 15 and 16, were apprehended shortly after the incident.
The deadly attack struck a chord with the Bosnian community, with more than 50 demonstrators blocking off traffic at Gravois and Itaska Sunday night. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson made an appearance and reassured the demonstrators that authorities are taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of residents in the neighborhood.
Dotson repeatedly said that there is “no indication” that the attacks were racially motivated or that they “knew each other.”
IJReview spoke with the victim’s brother, Rasim, about the horrifying and senseless attack.
"We have been in the U.S. since 1996," Rasim said. "The reason we moved from Bosnia was because of the war and the killing, and then it happened here. I just want justice for Zemir. That’s all I want. Our family will never be the same ... It’s hard waking up this morning. I felt like it was a dream; it was so hard to believe.
“If they don’t get death row, I hope they get life in prison,” Rasim continued. “I don’t want anyone else’s family going through the same stuff … People are telling me that because they’re younger, the judge might not press as hard of charges. I don’t think these kids should be out on the streets, and they need to be held accountable to the fullest extent that justice can give.”
The Bosnian community has shown their support for Bergic, and a Go Fund Me campaign has also been set up to help cover funeral arrangements.