By Judi McLeod
Monday, March 5, 2007
The final chapter of Sulejman Talovic, originally identified as a "trench coated teen" in the Trolley Square killing spree, ended with a full scale Islamic burial in his native Bosnia on Sunday.
Indeed, the headline in Serbianna from Sunday, March 4, 2007 heralds, "Utah killer rewarded (italics CFP's) with Islamic burial in native Bosnia".
In the days after Talovic's rampage through a Salt Lake City shopping mall, authorities were trying to figure out why a teenage Bosnian immigrant committed the rampage and how he got his hands on a gun--the same lament of his grieving father, Suljo Talovic at his son's funeral.
"FBI agent Patrick Kiernan in Salt Lake City said the bureau had no reason to believe Sulejman Talovic, 18, who was killed by police, was motivated by religious extremism or an act of terrorism. (Fox news.com. Feb. 15, 2007). "It's just unexplainable," Kiernan said Wednesday. "He was just walking around and shooting everybody he saw."
Talovic was described as a crazed teen by the mainstream media, from the day of the killings onward.
The shouts of "Die" followed by profanity Talovic made during his shooting spree found their way to the Internet.
Several hundred people gathered at the cemetery in the village of Talovici for Sulejman's open-casket funeral. Saying Islamic prayers, the father of the killer said his son "wounded the hearts of all our family" when he opened fire on Feb. 12 at the mall in Salt Lake City.
"I feel sorry for my child, but I also feel sorry for all the innocent people he has killed," the 18-year-old's father, Suljo Talovic, told the Associated Press.
Serbianna wrote the fate of the family in war-torn Bosnia in the most sympathetic of terms.
"Suljo Talovic spoke while standing where his family's house once stood in Talovici, an eastern Bosnian hamlet that still bears the scars of the 1992-95 war, including houses pocked with machine-gun fire or, like Talovic's reduced to rubble by shelling.
"Moments later, several hundred people gathered at the nearby cemetery for Sulejman's open-casket funeral. His crying mother, Sabira, collapsed after touching her son's face and was carried away.
Suljo Talovic said he would not make excuses for his son, but did not understand how a teenager could buy a gun in the United States.
"The authorities are guilty for mot alerting us that he bought a gun. In the U.S. you cannot buy cigarettes if you are underaged, but you can buy a gun," he said.
But the authorities he condemns as guilty live in the same country that took the Talovic family in.
Following years of violence and upheaval, the Talovic family left for the United States in 1998. Serb troops laid siege to Talovici, bombing it for a year before invading in March 1993.
"Sulejman was just 4 when he, his three siblings, his mother Sabira and his grandfather fled on foot to Srebrenica, while his father Suljo hid in the mountains with other men from the village, relatives said.
"Srebrenica was besieged, bombed and crowded with hungry Muslim families like the Talovics. One bomb killed Sulejman's grandfather. Sabira Talovic and the four children, rescued by the U.N. along with other displaced families, made their way to the government-controlled town of Tuzia, impoverished but safe.
"Sulejman's father, meanwhile still in Srebrenica, narrowly survived the 1995 killing of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys there by Serb forces loyal to then-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. The Srebrenica massacre was Europe's worst since World War II.
The family reunited in Tuzia later that year when a peace agreement brought an end to the war. They later obtained Croatian citizenship and in 1998 joined relatives already living in Utah.
Meanwhile the heartbroken families of the five people killed by teen Talovic won't be joining their lost loved ones anywhere on Earth.