The killing of 10-year-old Abdifatah Mohamud, from the moment police found his lifeless body, was never a whodunit for the boy's family.
Abdifatah's stepbrother accompanied a police officer - who was investigating the report of a missing child - into the basement of the Mohamud family's Guilford Street home.
When the police officer spotted Abdifatah in a fetal position, partially hidden and his hands duct-taped together, so did the step-brother, the police officer testified this week in State Supreme Court. That's when Hussein Waris, 24, screamed in horror.
"He's dead! He's dead! He killed his own son!" Waris shouted, according to Ferry Fillmore District Police Officer Christopher Fields, who discovered Abdifatah's body.
"I asked who," Fields said.
Waris walked out of the house shouting, "Go get him!" according to Fields.
The stepbrother told Fields that Abdifatah's stepfather, Ali Mohamed Mohamud, must have killed him, Fields said.
Fields was one of six police officers and detectives to testify at a court hearing about what they saw and heard April 17 as they investigated the death of the International Preparatory School fifth-grader.
State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns held the hearing to consider which statements to admit as evidence for Mohamud's upcoming murder trial. The judge will make his ruling next month.
Fields described where the step-brother was when he found the body.
"He was behind me," Fields said. "He saw at the same time I did."
The stepbrother blamed Mohamud immediately.
Within hours, police arrested the stepfather, a security guard employed by U.S. Security Associates who worked at The Buffalo News.
When Shukri Bile, the boy's mother, had reported Abdifatah missing, she told police that her husband was the last person to see the boy.
Bile and Mohamud have two sons, Barkad, 5, and Adam, 6. Bile is also the mother of Abdifatah and three grown children.
Bile, who had returned home from work, told police her husband told her Abdifatah did not do his homework and had jumped out of a window. Mohamud then left.
Bile permitted police to search the home.
Fields said he started his search for the boy in the basement.
"I saw some feet from behind a wall. I went to where the feet were, and that's where the child was," Fields testified.
The police officer said he saw "blood all over the place."
Police have previously told The News that Mohamud beat his 10-year-old stepson to death after gagging and restraining him in the basement.
The stepfather struck Abdifatah about 70 times with an 18-inch hardwood baker's rolling pin, shattering the boy's skull, then threw a blanket over the boy and fled his home.
Prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty, chief counsel in the Erie County District Attorney's Office, previously told a City Court judge that Mohamud admitted beating his stepson to death.
Mohamud's written police statement was not read aloud during the hearing, but a detective testified about what the defendant told him.
At Buffalo Police Headquarters, Mohamud seemed despondent but cooperated with detectives.
"He said, 'I loved my kids,'" Detective Sgt. James Lonergan recalled.
Mohamud then said, "Shoot me here," as he pointed to his forehead, Lonergan testified.
Law enforcement officials have previously said the stepfather was angry because the boy had fallen behind in his homework.
"He was lying to me all the time," Mohamud said, according to Lonergan.
Police arrested Mohamud at the newspaper. "I wasn't really working, but I went to work," he told the detective.
Mohamud had left his house, called his work supervisor and asked him to meet him at the newspaper.
At 11 p.m., the two met at the paper, and Mohamud said, "I have a lot of problems and killed one of my kids," according to the supervisor's report.
Mohamud, a native of Somalia who has been in the United States for a decade, gave detectives a written statement between 12:55 a.m. and 2:24 a.m. on April 18.
At the end of the interview, when asked if he wanted to make any changes to his written statement, Mohamud pointed out a spelling error on line 139 of the type-written statement, Lonergan said.
Mohamud did not ask for legal counsel during his police interview.
His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.