Mucad loved to play on iPads, kick around a soccer ball and chat with older people, his family and friends told The Associated Press. He was intelligent and full of energy, his brother Abdi Ibrahim said, and always seemed to be laughing.
The toddler’s life was cut short by a white supremacist gunman during an attack in Christchurch last Friday. Mucad was one of 50 worshippers at the Noor and Linwood mosques killed in the massacre.
Abdi Ibrahim said the shooting has deeply affected his family members.
“My mum, she’s been struggling,” he told the AP. “Every time she sees other people crying, emotional, she just collapses.”
Mucad was born in New Zealand to a Somali family that immigrated to the country 20 years ago, seeking to escape violence in their homeland. The family regularly attended traditional Friday prayers at Al Noor Mosque. Afterward, Abdi Ibrahim and his friends would go to nearby Hagley Park to play soccer. Mucad often tagged along to cheer for his brother and kick a soccer ball around on the sidelines.
The brothers’ plans to go to the park last Friday were upended by the massacre.
The toddler was sitting with Abdi Ibrahim and their father, Adan Ibrahim, in Al Noor when the shooter began firing. The family was separated in the ensuing chaos.
Mohamud Hassan, a member of Christchurch’s small Somali community, told The Washington Post that Mucad might have thought it was a scene from a video game his older brothers played. Hassan said that the boy ran toward the gunman.
Police later confirmed to the family that the toddler died, the AP said.
On Sunday evening, Mucad’s family was still waiting for authorities to release his body for burial, according to the Post. Islamic tradition requires bodies to be washed, wrapped and buried within 24 hours of death.
“It’s been tough days,” Ahmed Osman, a family friend, told the AP. “It’s been really tough days.”