PEORIA, AZ (CNN) — Police in Peoria, Arizona are investigating after a 17-year-old was killed at a Circle K gas station early Thursday morning.
Police say the teen was inside the store when the suspect, who had just been released from prison, came up and stabbed him in the neck.
Friends of 17-year-old Elijah Alamin had big plans to own his own business one day, but on the Fourth of July, that dream was cut short. Police say Elijah was at the soda machine inside the Circle K when 27-year-old Michael Adams came up behind him and slit his throat.
Areanna Ivery worked with Elijah at Taco Bell for a year and says they bonded over Elijah’s passion.
“He talked about rap music all the time. He loved rap artists,” Ivery said. She told reporters that Elijah would memorize lyrics for a much deeper purpose than the music itself.
“He just always said that rap artists spoke to him, that it just gave him a sense of purpose in a way. That he went through a lot of the things that they went through,” said Ivery.
Never in her wildest imagination did she think that would be the reason Elijah was killed.
According to Adams’ attorney, he was just released from the Department of Corrections two days before the stabbing after serving a 13-month sentence.
The police report says Adams told police the 17-year-old was listening to rap music in his car, and he believes people who listen to rap are a threat to him and the community.
So he said he stabbed him with a pocketknife.
“This is a disabled person. And he’s been released into the world, and left to fend for himself. And two days later, this is where we are,” Adams’ Attorney, Jacie Cotterell said.
She says the Department of Corrections failed Elijah and that Adams was put back on the streets with no resources or psychiatric help, even though he had a past of severe mental illness and violent crimes.
Cotterell says she wants the policy to change so no other teen has their life senselessly cut short.
“Man. Just — he had a lot of dreams that he told me about that he really wanted and I just wish if I could talk to him one more time I’d say ‘dude go follow those deals that you wanted to do’ everyone deserves that,” Ivery said.
Adams’ Attorney says her client needs to be treated for his mental illness, not sentenced to prison. However, the Arizona Department of corrections said Adams wasn’t designated as seriously mentally ill.