(NBC News) – Civil rights activists are calling for a hate-crime investigation into the alleged killing of a black teenager by a white man in Peoria, Arizona.
According to the Peoria Police Department, Michael Adams, 27, stabbed Elijah Al-Amin, 17, in the neck at a Circle K convenience store in the early hours of Thursday morning. Police say Al-Amin was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Adams told investigators that he attacked the boy because heard him listening to rap music in his car, according to the Arizona Republic. Adams reportedly said rap music makes him feel unsafe because he has been attacked by people in the past who listened to it.
NBC News could not independently verify this report.
The alleged killing took place just two days after Adams was released from prison, where he had completed a sentence for aggravated assault and theft.
Adams’ attorney argued in court that the attack was “a failing on the part of the Department of Corrections,” and said that despite symptoms of mental illness, “multiple prior felonies and a history of potentially unprovoked dangerous behavior,” Adams was released into the community without medication or support.
Civil rights advocates say Al-Amin’s killing should be treated as a hate crime.
“Michael Adams walked up to a black teen, Elijah Al-Amin, as he stood at the soda machine and slit his throat because he felt threatened by the music he listened to in his car,” Kristen Clark, Executive Directive of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law wrote on Twitter.
Adams been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.