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Two waiters arrested in killing of Malcolm X's grandson in Mexico

Two employees of a Mexico City bar are under arrest in connection with the death of Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of slain political activist Malcolm X.

Mexico AG

Manuel Alejandro Perez de Jesus

Shabazz, 28, reportedly got into an altercation last week at the bar over a disputed $1,200 tab.


Mexico prosecutors, in a statement translated by NBC News, said David Hernandez Cruz and Manuel Alejandro Pérez de Jesús, waiters at a bar called The Palace Club, were "likely responsible" for Shabazz's death.

Shabazz was found severely beaten early on Thursday morning after a night of drinking in the city.

According to Reuters, Shabazz was in Mexico City to visit Miguel Suarez, an immigrant activist recently deported from the United States.

Mexico AG

David Hernndez Cruz

The two had visited a run-down neighborhood around Plaza Garibaldi, a tourist area where musicians play Mariachi music on the streets, which are lined with strip clubs, dive bars and bordellos, Reuters reported. Mexican prosecutors described the area as Tepito, a working-class enclave.

At some point, the men met up with two women, aged 20 and 25, and entered The Palace, an establishment prosecutors described as a “place of entertainment” where they drank and socialized, Mexican officials said.

At about 3 a.m., the two waiters demand payment and a dispute erupted over the amount of the bill. After failing to reach a settlement, Shabazz was beaten and robbed, prosecutors said.

He died in a hospital early Thursday. Prosecutors said Shabazz died of injuries that included organ damage, head trauma and rib fractures. 

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Malcolm Shabazz shown as a 14-year-old at Family Court in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1999.

Shabazz's death matched his turbulent upbringing. His mother was accused of trying to kill Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who some thought was responsible for Malcolm X's assassination.

He then went to live with his grandmother. But on June 1, 1997, at age 12 he set fire to his grandmother's Yonkers, N.Y., apartment. She died later that month from injuries sustained in the blaze. He spent 18 months in juvenile detention after pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson.

He later spent time in prison for attempted robbery. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, slain in Mexico