By Guy Page
The homicide victim in the Thursday, July 7 shooting in Burlington was Hussein Mubarak, 21, a Burlington resident and convicted drug dealer.
Mubarak was shot at about 8:30 p.m. near the corner of Luck Street and Intervale Avenue in the Old North End of Burlington, Burlington police say. Mubarak and his killer are believed to have known each other, police say. The investigation is in its early stages and the Burlington Police Department is asking for anyone with any knowledge of the incident for their help. Initial information on scene stated the suspect may have fled north into the wooded area of the Intervale. An exhaustive search using multiple officers, K9’s and VSP drone, in the heavily wooded area, did not yield any results for the suspect.
On May 31, 2022 Mubarak was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss to 10 months’ imprisonment and a 3-year term of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, U.S. attorney records say.
As Mubarak admitted in his guilty plea hearing, the Burlington Police Department encountered him on May 14, 2021, when Mubarak was found to possess two plastic bags containing cocaine base in his pants pocket. Mubarak further admitted that the quantity of cocaine base found in his pants pocket was consistent with distribution and not personal use.
As described in court records, when Burlington Police Department officers arrested Mubarak on September 5, 2021, Mubarak possessed a semiautomatic handgun. As a result of this federal felony conviction, Mubarak was prohibited from obtaining or possessing firearms.
It is unclear why Mubarak was not still in prison after receiving a 10-month sentence in May. It is possible he was given credit for “time served” prior to the sentencing.
Mubarak was at least the sixth — and possibly seventh — person with a drug crime record to die in Vermont by homicidal gunfire during the last six months. Vermont Daily Chronicle has compiled the following list, which may not be exhaustive:
Sunday, June 12 – Sincere Johnson, 46, of Rutland, described in a 2020 news report as a “five-time felon” and alleged drug dealer from New York City, is allegedly shot to death by another long-time drug user and dealer. The Rutland Herald reports: “According to affidavits, witnesses described [Courtney] Samplatsky as planning to rob a drug dealer with [Michael] O’Brien’s help, and of later bragging about shooting Johnson in the face multiple times.”
Wednesday, June 8 – Justin Gilliam, 38, of Springfield, a convicted felon with drug-related arrests who friends say was trying to beat his drug habit, was found shot in the head in Springfield.
Sunday May 8 – Logan Pratt, 33, of Swanton dies after being shot in a drug-related car chase early Saturday morning in Highgate. Pratt had a lengthy criminal record. State police said the shooting was drug-related. Subsequent reports said the shooter believed Pratt had robbed his home.
Tuesday, March 1 – Vincent Keithan, 44, who had an extensive drug crime record, is shot and killed by Jerry Ramirez, 35, of Brooklyn NY outside a St. Johnsbury hospital, police say. The murder followed an alleged theft of drugs, court affidavits published in media reports say.
Wednesday, February 2 – A 22-year old man Elijah Oliver of Haverhill, MA, a known drug criminal and gang member, is killed by gunshots to the torso at a home on First Street in Swanton. The chief suspect in the case was subsequently arrested on federal firearms charges and has a history of drug crime.
Another shooting could be drug crime related, according to the circumstances of his death and carefully-worded statements made by the victim’s family.
Thursday, February 3 – Isaiah Rodriguez, 17, of Springfield, MA was found dead with gunshots to the torso on a dirt road in Danby.
Neither police nor family reports specifically say Rodriguez’s death was drug related. However, In a Feb. 10 Manchester Journal news report, a family member is quoted as saying, “He was just a good kid who went down the wrong road. Unfortunately, he had an issue with being a follower…..Isaiah, I think, had started hanging out with the wrong kind of people, and he got caught up in thinking that these new people were his friends. I think he found himself in the wrong spot with the wrong people he thought he could trust…..He was a good kid that just followed the wrong way, the wrong people. A teenager, you know how teenagers are, thinking that they know it all. He found himself in a situation that he couldn’t get out of. Look where it took him.
When asked what she would say to other young people in Rodriguez’s situation, the family member said: “Listen to the people who love you, who want the best for you. If you choose this way, you will end up in jail, or you end up dead along a roadway.”
Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.