Grandson of Malcolm X Died Amid Mariachi, Strippers and Sewage in Mexico

Seedy End for Troubled Scion of Black Nationalist Icon

Ignominious End: Seedy Mexico CIty bar where Malcolm Shabazz partied before being beaten to death.
getty images
Ignominious End: Seedy Mexico CIty bar where Malcolm Shabazz partied before being beaten to death.

By Reuters

Published May 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Left crumpled in the gutter after an ill-fated visit to a seedy club in a rough part of Mexico City, the grandson of murdered U.S. civil rights leader Malcolm X lay dying engulfed in the stench of sewage and a blaring cacophony of Mariachi music.

He was beaten to death early on Thursday morning, police say, in an ignominious end to a short, tormented life flecked with tragedy.

Malcolm Shabazz, who was convicted of manslaughter as a 12-year-old for setting a fire that killed his grandmother, was in Mexico City to visit Miguel Suarez, an immigration activist who was recently deported from the United States.

Bad Child: Malcolm Shabazz as he appeared in 1997 during his trial for setting a fire that killed his grandmother, Betty Shabazz.
getty images
Bad Child: Malcolm Shabazz as he appeared in 1997 during his trial for setting a fire that killed his grandmother, Betty Shabazz.

On Wednesday night, the pair visited the run-down area around Plaza Garibaldi, a popular tourist area where Mariachi music groups play on the streets amid seedy strip clubs, dive bars and bordellos.

Despite its proximity to the city’s grand colonial center, the area is infamous for petty crime.

Shabazz, who Mexican police say was 29, and Suarez strayed into Palace, a karaoke bar-cum-brothel away from the main drag. Police say they drank beer in the club and media reports said they then clashed with management over the bill.

The Mexican attorney general’s office has opened a murder investigation, saying Shabazz had been in “a place of entertainment, drinking beers” and that he suffered several injuries, apparently from blows.

Terrie Williams, a friend of the Shabazz family, said she had no details of the circumstances behind the death. She was unaware if his family, which Reuters was not immediately able to reach, had any details.

“This is a family that has experienced extraordinary trauma and pain over the years,” said Williams, who issued a brief statement on behalf of the Shabazz family following news of the death.

Efforts by Reuters to contact Miguel Suarez were not successful.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.