Abdihamit Ali, 23, at a court hearing in August. His sentencing was delayed after attorneys submitted a motion for a new trial, citing “new evidence.” Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A man was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday for shooting a woman in a Portland public housing complex, an incident that prosecutors say traumatized a neighborhood of residents who came to the U.S. seeking safety.

Abdihamit Ali, 23, was given a 15-year sentence, with eight years suspended and four years of probation. A jury found him guilty of elevated aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and criminal mischief after a three-day trial in April. Last month, a judge also found him guilty of illegally possessing a firearm. Ali was barred from owning a gun because of a felony assault conviction from when he was 17.

The four charges stem from a shooting at Riverton Park early on Sept. 3, 2022, when Ali fired a gun at Marwa Mohammad, 20, as she was walking from her car. Mohammad suffered a leg injury and spent several weeks on crutches, prosecutors said. Bullets also pierced the walls of the Abdi family apartment, entering the room of Nimo Abdi’s young son.

“They came to the United States with the idea that they would be safe, and that their children would be safe,” Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Ackerman said. She said Ali took that away from them.

Neither Mohammad nor Abdi was there to address Cumberland County District Judge Maria Woodman Friday. Ackerman said afterward that she believed the sentence reflects the significance of Ali’s crime and sends a message “that gun violence in Maine will be treated seriously by the court.”

Elevated aggravated assault is a Class A crime and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, Woodman said. Between all four charges, Ali faced a maximum sentence of 41 years in prison.


Ali’s attorneys, Zachary Fey and Daniel Wentworth, said Friday that they were disappointed in the sentence’s severity. They had asked for Ali to serve four years of a five-year sentence, comparing Ali’s case to that of Eddie Roberts, who Fey said was sentenced to serve one year in prison after pleading guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault in an unrelated shooting.

Ackerman said the case wasn’t comparable because Roberts had pleaded guilty to the crime.


Ali told the judge that when he shot Mohammad he was still struggling with the death of his sister, Najma, from an overdose in February 2021. Ali’s family and attorney said police had investigated her death but never charged anyone for providing the drugs that killed her.

“There are more resources dedicated to this hearing than there were to her death,” Fey said.

The family said they’ve struggled to find closure.


“I lost control,” Ali said. “I let emotions drive my decision-making. And for that I’m deeply sorry.”

The prosecutor argued the shooting was cold and calculated. She also pointed to Ali’s criminal history, arguing that shooting Mohammad was “another example of violence that Mr. Ali has taken out on unsuspecting, innocent individuals, given his anger and rage.”

Ali apologized Friday, saying he was “forever remorseful,” for shooting Mohammad.

“I want to apologize to everyone that was directly and indirectly impacted by my behavior,” he said.

Ali was a few months old when his mother, Sooc Dirir, brought the family to the United States from Kenya. He said his mother already had fled the civil war in Somalia.

“He’s not just my son, he’s my friend, my support,” Dirir said Friday, speaking through a translator.



Ali and Mohammad got into a fight at the Woodford Club shortly after 2 a.m. on Sept. 3, according to Woodman’s recount of the trial testimony.

There, he told Mohammad, “I know where you live.”

Ali and a friend followed Mohammad home. As she was getting out of her car in the complex parking lot, Ali fired multiple rounds in her direction. One of those rounds hit Abdi’s apartment, where she and her then 4-year-old son were sleeping.

Mohammad crouched behind a vehicle. Ali approached her, pointed his gun at her and said, “Do you want to die?” before shooting her in the leg, according to Woodman.

She drove to a friend’s place in Westbrook because she didn’t want her mom to see that she was shot, Ackerman said. There, she called 911 and went to the hospital.


Woodman, the same judge who told Ali 35 days before the shooting that he was not allowed to own a gun, said Friday that he showed “a reckless disregard for human life.”

“The victims in this case, a community, are harmed,” Woodman said. “The lives that you’ve affected, are now overwhelmingly living in fear. In fear for their lives, in fear for the consequences of coming forward, in fear based on what they’ve experienced already.”

Ali’s attorneys argued a long sentence would squander his potential. They argued that research shows long periods of incarceration are more likely to result in recidivism. Ali said he graduated from Deering High School and spent three years studying at the University of Southern Maine.

Woodman urged Ali to use his time in prison to change.

“I hope that you do rehabilitate,” she said. “You have your whole life before you when you emerge from prison. I hope you use that time to continue your studies, so when you do exit you do so as a responsible citizen and you can live crime free for the rest of your life.”

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