Mom Vows to Help Murderers Who Randomly Shot Her Son in the Head


Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was a devout Christian, full of concern for others, wanting to direct people to God. He was tragically shot in the head as he walked home with food for himself and his wife.

He was approached by three men ranging in age, the youngest being 14-year-old Javon Coulter. They shot him in the back of the head and took his wallet, his cell phone, and a pair of pants.

It is unclear who fired the fatal shot, but as Detective Eric Karaguleff said, “I don’t care – doesn’t matter – they all benefited.”

Video surveillance showed Coulter with two accomplices as they shared the money, less than 60 dollars, and left the scene.

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The surprising part of the story is not the senseless murder itself, but the response of two mothers who lost their sons that night. With one son murdered and the other locked in prison, it seemed as though the combined losses were too great to bear until the victim’s mother did the unexpected.

Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, stood in the courtroom two years after the loss of her son and asked for something that no one could have guessed. She wanted a hug from Coulter, her son’s murderer.

“His death was already ordained,” Rukiye told Coulter of her son. “Maybe the purpose is to save your life.”

Rukiye could see more in this young man than her son’s death, and she firmly believed that she could make him a better person. She also wanted to hug the other man charged with the crime, 19-year-old Valentino Pettis, but he refused.

The refusal of a hug concerned her, because she felt it indicated that Pettis would return to the street and had no interest in reform. She continued to talk about the disease that fills our youth and the need to get rid of the sickness before it could be passed on.

“We have to fight for them to see that there is a better life,” she said, “and then they have to fight to get to where that better life is.”

Coulter’s mother, Malyyka Bonner, a single mother who was only 15 when she had Coulter, is also worried about her son. He struggled with mental health issues at an early age and had difficulties reading and writing.

“He didn’t want to go to school,” said Bonner. “He just wanted to hang in the street and do whatever.” This is what led Coulter to hang around with the wrong people and eventually led him to prison.

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Coulter could have turned out to be a throwaway child, with the beginning of an endless cycle of dangerous behavior, but Rukiye says that she won’t let that happen.

She believes that he is still young enough to change his ways and become a positive influence on others.

Though the arrest report stated that Coulter admitted to the crime, there is no other evidence supporting that he was indeed the shooter. Bonner said that he isn’t talking about the event.

Still, Rukiye is a shining example of what the justice system needs. She is someone who came forward to care about what happens to our youth, even in the face of her tragic loss.

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