Three men beaten and stabbed – one fatally – outside a northeast Modesto bar late Nov. 18 or early Nov. 19 were ambushed by a group of eight or nine men, a relative said Friday.
Fadi Salman, a 35-year-old from Yemen who moved to Modesto in August on a visa to join his American-born wife, died after being taken to a hospital, said his cousin, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. Salman had been stabbed in the chest, abdomen and back.
He was with two cousins, Amir Jamal, 27, and Omar Allatry, 24. Both Modesto men remain traumatized and are recovering from their physical injuries so asked the relative to convey on their behalf what happened.
The three cousins were at the Shadow Lounge, at Sylvan Avenue and Oakdale Road, maybe 30 minutes when they decided to leave. A group of six or seven men was behaving drunkenly in the bar and picking on a lot of people, apparently looking for a fight. At least some of the men took off their shirts to show their tattoos, leading the victims to believe they were gang markings.
The group left before Salman, Jamal and Allatry, who had no interaction with them inside, the relative said. When the three emerged, the six or seven men attacked them and were joined by a couple more who emerged from vehicles. The three were beaten with sticks or bats in addition to being stabbed, the relative said.
Jamal was stabbed in the side, and the weapon grazed his spleen. Allatry was beaten so badly he barely can walk and has a large welt on his back from a stick or bat.
“Right off the bat, you’ve got eight or nine guys against three guys, that alone, that’s cowardice,” the relative said. To simply beat his relatives, the assailants had no need for weapons. “They’re a unit, a weapon themselves,” he said. “They were going for the kill.”
Police responding to a call about 12:15 a.m. Nov. 19 were told a number of people had fled the scene. This week, detectives still were working to determine the number of suspects, their descriptions and any associated vehicle descriptions.
Police said the stabbings are “not being labeled a hate crime,” but the family is not ruling that out. Because Salman spoke no English, the cousins likely were speaking Arabic in the bar, the relative said, and the assailants might have targeted them because of that.
Salman has been interred at the Islamic cemetery in Lodi. In addition to his widow, he is survived by his 64-year-old mother in Yemen.
Salman was his mother’s only child, and his father died a few years ago. He came to America to be with his wife and to work as a truck driver to support his mother, the relative said. “We’re trying to get her out here to visit his grave,” he said.
His cousin was “an amazing guy. All he did was smile. … He was always laughing and making jokes. He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Salman’s family is upset that witnesses apparently have given police little to work with. “People outside watched, but nobody helped,” the relative said. “They were too busy on social media.” Yet from what family has heard, no cellphone recordings of the attack have become evidence.