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‘Why him?’: Fatal shooting of a Guinean man visiting Md. to learn English remains a mystery

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 10/21/2019 Lynh Bui
a man standing in a parking lot: Mamadou Bailo Bah had plans to take over his family business. “Bailo was my hope,” his father, Amadou Sara Bah, said in a phone call from Guinea. “He was my succession. . . . He was my everything.” © Abdoulaye Bademba Bah/Abdoulaye Bademba Bah Mamadou Bailo Bah had plans to take over his family business. “Bailo was my hope,” his father, Amadou Sara Bah, said in a phone call from Guinea. “He was my succession. . . . He was my everything.”

Mamadou Bailo Bah had been preparing to take over the family business.

After his father sent him to earn degrees in Morocco and Malaysia, Bah landed in the United States less than two years ago to learn English, with plans of returning to his native Guinea.

“Bailo was my hope,” his father, Amadou Sara Bah, said in a phone call from Guinea. “He was my succession. . . . He was my everything.”

The elder Bah’s dreams of leaving his import-export business to his son vanished on Oct. 11, when the 22-year-old was fatally shot outside his apartment in Adelphi, Md. Mamadou Bailo Bah had come home from his job as a food delivery driver that evening when he was attacked in the parking lot outside his apartment, according to friends and Prince George’s County police.

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More than a week later, investigators are urging the public to come forward with information that could help close the case. At this point, investigators can’t figure out who would want to hurt Bah or why, police said.

“It looks like a completely random incident,” said Tony King, acting captain of the homicide and robbery unit for the county police. “Right now we’re exploring every motive in this incident.”

Officers who were called to a shooting about 7:25 p.m. Oct. 11 found Bah with gunshot wounds in a parking lot in the 1800 block of Metzerott Road, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

When Abdoulaye Bah heard that his friend had been shot, he rushed to the scene.

“I was surprised,” said Abdoulaye Bah, a childhood friend who has the same last name. “He does not have a lot of friends here. He does not have enemies. I was in shock. Why? Why him?”

Abdoulaye Bah, who lives in Baltimore, said his friend had lived at the Metzerott Road apartment for only a few weeks on a temporary basis as he awaited approval for a new place.

a man that is standing in the snow: Mamadou Bailo Bah, 22, was killed on Oct. 11 outside his apartment in Adelphi, Md. © Abdoulaye Bademba Bah/Abdoulaye Bademba Bah Mamadou Bailo Bah, 22, was killed on Oct. 11 outside his apartment in Adelphi, Md.

Mamadou Bailo Bah’s dream was to come to the United States and learn English, Abdoulaye Bah said. The friends had plans to work together in the future, with Mamadou Bailo Bah looking to study business and earn an associate degree from Montgomery College, Abdoulaye Bah said.

Mamadou Bailo Bah and Abdoulaye Bah are not related, but the two met decades ago when they were in preschool. They spent so much time with each other that their parents eventually became friends, Abdoulaye Bah said.

When Abdoulaye Bah moved to the United States in 2010, the friends stayed in touch despite the distance. Then in 2018, the two reunited in Maryland after Abdoulaye Bah helped his friend apply for the student visa that brought him to the United States.

“He came here with me to learn English and then go back to his country and work,” Abdoulaye Bah said. “His father’s business is based in Morocco. He wanted to be the one who was going to take that one day. He wanted to follow his father’s footsteps.”

The killing has rattled the area’s Guinean community, which has banded together to raise funds for his family.

Doumbouya Dialla, president of the Association of Guineans in the DMV, is working with a similar association in Baltimore to collect at least $10,000 for the victim’s family and to urge the public to come forward with information that could help solve the case.

“We need help to know exactly what happened,” Dialla said. “We don’t know why him.”

Mamadou Aliou Diallo, a friend of Mamadou Bailo Bah’s, is working to return his body to Guinea.

“He was a very ambitious young man with lots of hopes and dreams,” he said. “At this point we cannot bring his life back. The only thing we can try to do is bring his body back to his family so that their hearts and minds are at peace.”

Amadou Sara Bah said he hopes anyone with information about his son’s killing will contact police so authorities can “catch the person and to take them to justice.”

King said that the apartment complex where the slaying occurred is a large, busy area and that investigators hope anyone who saw anything, “even if they think it’s insignificant,” will contact police.

“No detail is too small,” King said. “We’re looking for answers for his family and friends here and overseas.”

On social media accounts from across the world, Mamadou Bailo Bah’s friends and families have posted tributes to him or turned their profile pictures black in mourning. They remembered him as an ambitious, hard-working man who wanted to make his family proud.

Ilias Bah said his older brother was loved by everyone, eager to “fight to become a great man” to improve his family’s life.

“My older brother was a very wise, intelligent young man who had the joy of living his life,” Ilias Bah said. “He loved his family very much despite the long distance. . . . He was always there for us, and we will build ourselves to make him proud.”

lynh.bui@washpost.com

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