Michigan Imam Shot 20 Times in FBI Raid, Autopsy Shows

A Muslim prayer leader accused of encouraging his followers to commit violence against the U.S. government was shot 20 times during an FBI raid at a suburban warehouse last fall, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The autopsy was completed a month after Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death, but police in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn were granted a delay in releasing the results while they investigate the Oct. 28 shooting, said Dr. Carl Schmidt, Wayne County's chief medical examiner.

Abdullah, 53, died instantly, he said.

"You cannot tell by the gunshot wounds whether he was lying down, standing up, sitting," Schmidt told reporters. "It is impossible to say which one was the fatal gunshot wound. It was a combination of gunshot wounds."

Abdullah, also known as Christopher Thomas, was the imam of a small mosque in Detroit that served mostly black Muslims. The FBI says agents were trying to arrest him at a Dearborn warehouse when he resisted and fired a gun.

At the time, Abdullah and 11 allies were being pursued for federal crimes, chiefly conspiracy to sell stolen goods in an FBI sting operation.

The FBI says Abdullah was spreading a radical anti-government ideology that called for an Islamic state within the U.S. His family denies it. There were no terror-related charges.

Dearborn police are still investigating Abdullah's death. Earlier Monday, Chief Ron Haddad said it will take several more weeks before detectives finish their work and share their findings with the Michigan attorney general's office.

"I'm not going to engage in opinions on the use of force," Haddad said when asked if agents fired too many times. "Whether it clears them, whether they're prosecuted, it'll be up to the next level."

He promised a "clear, honest and objective evaluation."

The chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, U.S. Rep. John Conyers and the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations want a separate investigation. Outside the Dearborn Police Department, a small group of protesters stood near a sign that said, "Stop FBI Terror!"

A lawyer for Abdullah's family, Nabih Ayad, questioned the FBI's tactics.

"A lot of raids are conducted when a suspect has a gun. That doesn't mean you shoot them 20 times," Ayad said in an interview.

Schmidt said Abdullah's body was handcuffed and on the floor of a semitrailer when his investigator arrived at the shooting scene.

He said the 20 shots caused 21 wounds, mostly on the left side of Abdullah's body, from the abdomen down.