The grandson of famed civil rights activists Malcolm X was killed in Mexico City under what is a currently unclear circumstances.
The cause of death of Malcolm Shabazz, 28, is still vague, but according to a number of media reports he was killed by injuries he suffered during an attempted robbery.
The U.S. State Department confirmed only that an American citizen was killed in the Mexican capital, clearing up earlier rumors that Shabazz was killed in the border city of Tijuana.
"We have been in contact with family members and at their request we have no further comment at this time," said State Department spokeswoman Esperanca Tilghman, according to USA Today.
Terrie M. Williams, a friend of the Shabazz family, confirmed via Twitter that the troubled grandson of Malcolm X was killed.
“I'm confirming, per US Embassy, on behalf of the family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz,” she wrote.
The report of the death during a robbery came from the news site Talking Points Memo, who interviewed Juan Ruiz, a member of the California-based labor organization Rumec.
“He was murdered. He was in Mexico City and I believe they attempted to rob him and he didn't allow it, so they beat him to death and he died on his way to the hospital,” Ruiz told TPM. “This is all I can confirm, everything else is under investigation for the meantime.”
Shabazz, the son of Malcolm X’s daughter Qubilah Shabazz and an Algerian Muslim she met in Paris, led a troubled life, spending much of it in and out of prison.
In 1997 he made headlines for starting a fire in the New York home of his grandmother and Malcolm X's widow Betty Shabazz, which led to her death. The 12-year old Shabazz was arrested and charged with manslaughter and arson.
He pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile correction facility, where he served four years.
Following his release, he went to live with an aunt, Ilyasah Shabazz. He was arrested again in 2002 for robbery and sentenced to three and a half years in prison, and then in 2006 for punching a hole in a plate glass window.
A devout Muslim, Shabazz made the Hajj – an Islamic pilgrimage - to Mecca, the religion’s holiest site.
He is survived by his mother, two daughters and several aunts.