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Bosnian Community Bewildered by Tolovic's Actions

Bosnian Community Bewildered by Tolovic's Actions

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Marc Giauque, KSL Newsradio It was a war that left hundreds of thousands dead, and chased millions of people out of their homes.

Elvis Hadzialijjic: "I think every year in Bosnia was considered a fighting year. The whole of Bosnia was in a war."

Elvis Hadzialijjic, now owns a restaurant on Main Street, the restaurant where today, the Mayor met with community members. He says many hesitate to talk about their experiences of more than a decade ago.

Elvis Hadzialijjic: "Mostly what you want to do is not talk about a war; not talk to other people because your stories will be strange. So we are trying not to, you know, explain a lot."

Like what happens in war, a lot are trying to come up with some explanation for why Salejmen Tolovic killed five people, before being shot to death himself. Could it be trauma from years ago? Hadzialijjic and others here don't think it's that simple.

Elvis Hadzialijjic: "It's hard to say anything about that person. We don't know (his) motives, police didn't say anything, so probably they're still searching for it. So once we get that (a motive), I'm sure it's not going to be that this person is really a normal functioning (person)."

That's why Hadzialijjic believes it isn't fair to call Tolovic a Bosnian Refugee.

Elvis Hadzialijjic: "I would identify him as a Salt Lake resident. I think that would be much more fair to the other Bosnians."

Hadzialijjic says people came here to flee violence, in fact, he says some won't even hunt any more, simply because it involves a weapon. It's a similar message that comes from Tolovic's bewildered aunt.

Ajka Omerovic, Salejmen's Aunt: "I just want to make sure that people don't think that we are people who came here to make problems. We came here to survive."

Ajka Omerovic is concerned about how people might now see the whole community.

Ajka Omerovic: "We are good people, just like everybody. And we want to be nice to everybody. What happened to Sulejmen we have no idea."

Nor to this point do the rest of us.

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