More than 100 people gathered on the driveway and sidewalk in front of Shaima Alawadi's home in El Cajon on Wednesday for a candlelight vigil.
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Alawadi, a 32-year-old mother of five, was beaten unconscious with a tire iron last Wednesday and taken off life support a few days later.
Family, friends and even strangers touched by the tragedy came together Wednesday demanding answers and justice.
Alawadi's 15-year-old son Mohammed Al Hamidi had these words for his mother's killer: "You killed my mom. You beat her to death."
The teen is still struggling to cope with his mother's death but on Wednesday, he made a vow.
"I am going to stay strong," he said. "I'm going to be the man that she's going to be proud of."
At times, the crowd united in prayer, which was mostly spoken in Arabic. Then, they cheered, "We love Shaima!"
Alawadi's 17-year-old daughter Fatima, her oldest child, found her mother in a pool of blood with a threatening note nearby saying, "This is our country, not yours, you terrorist."
El Cajon police have yet to rule the incident a hate crime but Fatima feels it is obvious. Even in the wake of her mother's brutal murder, the teen refuses to cower to the message she feels the killer is trying to make about her Iraqi heritage and the traditional head scarves Muslim women wear.
"Everybody here did not take it off," she said. "If that's trying to scare us
that's just making us braver."
Mohammed had these words for his mother: "I just want to let you know one thing. You're gone but you will never be forgotten."
El Cajon police have not named any suspects. On Tuesday, they returned to Alawadi's home to tow the family minivan, which will be swept for forensic evidence. Investigators also went back into the home to gather more evidence.
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