Met police officer and Reality Star, Khafi finally breaks silence on death of sibling - Report Minds Met police officer and Reality Star, Khafi finally breaks silence on death of sibling | Report Minds

Met police officer and Reality Star, Khafi finally breaks silence on death of sibling

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Reality star Khafi has finally decided to speak out following the shocking death of her younger brother.

The MET officer opened up on the shock ordeal which hit her family in an explosive interview.


When Khafi Kareem received the call on a June morning urgently summoning her to the family home, her first instinct was that there had been an accident. ‘My brother said it was about Alex, but he couldn’t tell me over the phone,’ she recalls.

‘The worst thing I could think of was that my little brother had been injured somehow. Not for a minute did I think he was dead, and not in a million years would I ever have thought he’d been shot.’



But 20-year-old Alex had been gunned down as he left a shop near home in west London.


‘People hear about the death of a black boy on the street and assume that he was in a gang, that it’s a case of live by the gun, die by the gun,’ is how Khafi, 30, puts it. ‘But Alex couldn’t be further away from that life.

‘After he was shot, nobody ever asked outright if he was in a gang,’ she says. ‘But sometimes you could see the question mark in their eyes.

‘People I knew said there must be more to it than a random act of violence, and one person asked if I was sure who my brother associated with. I told them yes, I was pretty sure. But it illustrated how, when a young black man dies, it is so easy for people to make assumptions.



‘It is just a shame that you have to fight that prejudice first, before people can feel sorry about Alex or feel sad about what happened.’

It is one reason she has decided to grant this interview, anxious to pay tribute to her much-loved brother and show ‘another side to the story of a black boy’s life in London.’

While the investigation continues into Alex’s murder, detectives have reiterated their belief that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and was not the intended target of his killers.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley, from Scotland Yard, said: ‘He was innocent. He had nothing to do with the horrid, horrible lifestyle that took him away. All lines of inquiry point to this being a tragic case of mistaken identity.

‘Alexander did nothing wrong that night — he simply left a convenience store. The people who did this must be brought to justice.

‘They ruthlessly shot down an innocent man in the street with no care of the consequences.


‘We continue to urge anyone with information to come forward. These people do not deserve your protection — they set out to cause harm.’

Khafi’s decision to speak out comes laced with an extra layer of poignancy: for the past ten years, she has been a Metropolitan Police officer, working on the front line to combat the dozens of acts of gun and knife crime that unfold on the streets of the capital week in, week out.

In 2018 she was pictured alongside Commissioner Cressida Dick as the Met celebrated 100 years of women in the force.

While keen to emphasise that she is speaking out as a grieving sister, not a police officer, the irony of her position is not lost on her. ‘I’ve served time on a murder squad. I have seen so much grief, and I’ve always been really passionate about looking after victims and the people who are left behind after crime.

‘But I never thought something like this would happen in my own family,’ she says.

On some level it’s clear that today, two months after Alex was murdered and a fortnight after his family were finally able to hold his funeral, his death still hasn’t sunk in: Khafi, a gentle and articulate woman, frequently talks about her youngest brother in the present tense and admits she struggles to confront the finality of his absence.

‘It’s still very surreal to me. People were saying that after the funeral things get better, but seeing him go into the ground — in a way I’m feeling worse now because now I wake up every morning thinking ‘gosh, he’s really gone’. It doesn’t seem real. I think in some ways everyone is still in shock,’ she says.

While their family was from Nigeria, Khafi and her brothers are all first-generation Londoners, brought up in Shepherd’s Bush. Their mum, a nurse, raised them largely alone after separating from her geologist husband when Khafi was 12, and imbued all her children with a sense that the world was their oyster.

It paid off: Khafi and her two surviving brothers — who asked not to be named — all went to university and both brothers have carved out successful careers, one as a footballer in Australia, the other in banking.

‘I was thinking about my brothers not long before this happened and thinking what an amazing job my mum has done,’ she recalls. ‘We’ve all been brought up in London, and she had three sons, and we’ve all made successes of ourselves.’

Alex — named after Alexander the Great — was the youngest, and all his siblings were protective. ‘All of us wanted to look after him, so that’s what made everything so much more painful because any of us would have said we’d take the bullet for him,’ she says, her eyes filling with tears.

She is able to summon a smile though, as she recalls some of her earliest memories of her ‘ball of energy’ brother, a boy who would run up and down the house from the moment he woke up.

Quirky, funny and studious, the young Alex also had a big heart. ‘I remember one winter we were walking and came across a homeless person with no shoes on, and Alex was so upset for the man he started crying in the middle of the road, saying, ‘Why doesn’t he have shoes? It’s cold outside.’ I will always remember that. He just cared about people,’ she says.

Athletic as well as academic, Alex was popular at school, although naturally an introvert. ‘He was very quiet when you first met him, but once he got to know you, or when he was with his friends or people he knows, he just opened up,’ says Khafi. ‘He was so talkative and very funny.’

Alex had a particular flair for IT, and after taking A-levels initially decided against university, opting for apprenticeships at technology companies. ‘I think as the youngest he wanted to carve out his own path,’ says Khafi.

Then, last year, he decided he would like to go to university after all and was given a place at the University of East Anglia to study computer science, starting in September. ‘He did all of the application process by himself without telling us, so we didn’t know until he got the acceptance letter earlier this year,’ says Khafi.

‘We were all really proud of him.’ Three months before he died, Alex had also started a relationship with a girl called Mauritia who he met through mutual friends.

‘She was the first girlfriend he had ever introduced to us and even at 20, he was really talking about settling down with her. They were talking about the future a lot,’ says Khafi. She pauses, fighting her emotions. ‘Honestly he was just becoming a man. He was in such a good place and that’s what is so painful.’

While Khafi moved out of the family home several years ago —she lives in Chiswick, west London with her fashion designer fiancé, Gedoni Ekpata — she remained in close contact with Alex, although, as for so many families, the coronavirus pandemic meant they were unable to see each other as much in recent months.

‘Alex had his 20th birthday at the end of March at the height of Covid and normally we would all get together, but we were all taking the rules seriously, so we didn’t see each other to celebrate, though I spoke to him,’ she says.

No one could have known that birthday would be his last and that less than three months later he would be dead. ‘It’s unthinkable, isn’t it?’ Khali says quietly.

On the night of his death on June 8, Khafi says she was overcome with a sudden wish to call her brother at what she now realises is around the time he was killed. ‘Around midnight I had this urge to speak to him. Normally I do his hair and I had this sudden feeling that I should get in touch and ask him when he wanted me to go over,’ she recalls.

‘But then I realised it was late and I decided to leave it until the next day. Now I can’t stop thinking about whether if I had called it would have delayed him, and he might not have been killed.’

The circumstances of his death could not be more innocent or mundane: Alex was spending the evening at a friend’s home when, around midnight, he decided to go to a local convenience store to buy soft drinks and sweets.

As he left the shop clutching his bag, he was shot twice in the chest and abdomen. Police believe that Alex’s killers approached him in a white Range Rover Evoque, which was later found burnt out.

Alex was pronounced dead at the scene although Khafi, like the rest of her family, is haunted by the notion that her brother did not die instantly. ‘Passers-by heard him shouting ‘help me’. After that he went silent. I can only hope it was quick because I don’t want to think that he felt too much pain,’ she says.

Khafi learned the devastating news the next morning after arriving at the family home to find two detectives trying to console her grief-stricken mum and brothers.

‘Mum was in bits,’ she says quietly. ‘I didn’t want to believe it; even when they said it, I still didn’t believe it. I was just like, ‘No way, no, no, not Alex. You’re lying’.’

The fact that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time has only compounded the agony. ‘I remember asking if there an altercation in the shop, even though I know Alex wouldn’t even get involved in that kind of thing. But I felt I could accept that more than it being literally bad luck.’

None of this, however, stopped even well-intentioned members of the local community pondering whether there were gang associations with his death. ‘You could see the question was there,’ she says. ‘It was hurtful.’

As the families of those whose lives have been taken by violence know too well, the next few weeks were a blur of unreality.

‘We all went to identify Alex at the mortuary. It just looked like he was sleeping, and I wanted to shake him to say, ‘Wake up Alex, please.’ Just begging him really, begging for it not to be real.’

His body was not released for five weeks, meaning his funeral could not take place until the end of July. ‘We were restricted on numbers because of Covid, but a lot of people came and stood outside,’ she recalls. ‘That outpouring of love was lovely — you could see that Alex impacted on the lives of so many people even though he was so young. So, that made me feel better in a way.’

Her Christian faith has also provided solace. ‘It’s funny because you want to ask God, why did this happen? At the same time, it’s the only thing that’s been keeping me sane, that Alex is with God and trusting that God has a plan.’

The focus of the family is now, understandably, on bringing Alex’s killers to justice: while seven people have been arrested, no charges have been brought at the time of writing. ‘Whoever killed him has a gun, they’ve used it this time, so nothing is stopping them using it again,’ says Khafi.

Still, the Kareem family can’t shake off the senselessness. ‘Alex was still just a boy really — but a boy with so much promise,’ says his sister. ‘It’s just so very sad.’


Source: Daily Mail

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