Dearborn chief on teens arrested after woman killed: 'It's society's failure'

29-year-old woman killed during string of robberies

DEARBORN, Mich. - Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad held a news conference Thursday afternoon to offer more details on his department's investigation into a string of robberies Sept. 6 that left one woman dead.

This news conference comes after it was learned three teens were arrested in connection with the murder of 29-year-old Saja Aljanabi. Aljanabi was shot Sept. 6 in front of her family's home near the intersection of Tireman Avenue and Bingham Street.

  • Watch the full police news conference above.

Chief Haddad said she was the second of three people who were robbed that night. He said these were random victims -- "totally random acts of violence in our city."

Originally, four people were taken into custody, Haddad said. Three people remain in custody in connection with the robberies and Aljanabi's murder.

"This was a random act of violence by three people who have committed similar crimes across the region. (Aljanabi) was an innocent victim. If I were in that car, or you were in that car, the same thing would have happened," said Haddad.

A 17-year-old boy is being held in jail while a 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy are being held at a juvenile detention facility. All of them are residents of Detroit. Charges are expected to be announced soon.

"It's a tragedy. I've talked to one of their parents ... it's just unfortunate. If you really want to know what comes to my mind, I think we all own failures when kids get on the wrong track like this. It's society's failure," said the chief.

What happened

Dearborn police said they believe Aljanabi's death is connected to two other armed robberies that occurred around the same time. In one of them, a person was robbed at gunpoint about a mile away from the home. The other incident happened a few blocks away.

The three boys were arrested just after 10 p.m. Dearborn police have not made any comment on the arrests, but sources have confirmed to Local 4 that they are being held in the shooting death of Aljanabi.

The 14-year-old was wearing a court-ordered electronic tether on his ankle at the time of the death. Information from the tether puts the teen at the scene of the fatal shooting, confirmed sources said.

The three teens were reportedly on a robbery spree that night -- committing multiple armed robberies, including at least three in Dearborn.

When they allegedly ambushed Aljanabi, one of the teens reportedly opened fire.

Brother was texting her

Her brother, Ali Aljanabi, said it may sound simple, but the details of his sister's murder are more complex than that. Ali said they were texting Friday night around 9:45. He sent her a message. He asked her about her location.

"She goes ‘At the door.' I didn't understand, what she meant by door. I was like what door? She read it but she didn't answer me. I was sitting inside, and I heard shots fired, when I heard that, I thought something dropped on the floor," said Aljanabi.

Ali said he went to the front door.

"I saw the car. I saw half of her body lying, facing the floor. Half of her legs were inside. I pulled her out from the car, flipped her around, trying to keep her going, like she was hardly breathing," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dearborn Police Department at 313-943-2240.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay Aljanabi's funeral costs. You can donate here.

Saja Aljanabi (WDIV)

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