On Saturday night, two weeks ago, Mike Mulwa was going about his business at a store he owned in Birmingham, Alabama when he was accosted by robbers. According to police report, there was a holdup that ended with Mike being shot. He died in the wee hours of Sunday Morning.
And now, Birmingham police have announced the arrest of 18-year-old Chandler Bryant of Birmingham in connection with Mike’s murder that occurred during the robbery at the Citgo service station on Parkway East. The teen also has an outstanding robbery warrant with another law enforcement agency in Jefferson County.
The shooting happened about 11:30 p.m. that Saturday. Birmingham police Sgt. Bryan Shelton said East Precinct officers were dispatched to the store on a robbery alarm. When they arrived, they found two people consoling Mike, who had been shot one time. He would later die in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Mike lived in Acworth, Georgia. His mother, Violent Mueni, and father, Councillor Ngangi, live in Kenya, as well as his only surviving brother, Vincent Mutuku. His cousins living in the U.S. include Erik Sukulu in California, Lilian Musyoki in Tennessee and Eunice Munyiva, in Georgia. All of his other cousins and family remain in Kenya.
He leaves behind a wife and three children, said Sukulu. “Mike had the entrepreneurial spirit that guided him in his pursuit of the American dream,” Sukulu said. He moved to the U.S. in 2008, and worked in various department stores in Atlanta before landing a job with Shaw Industries.
“His ambition and thirst for success led him to open a cultural clothing line, “254,” and he traversed the country selling his merchandise to his Kenyan-American target market during major sporting events,” Sukulu said. “He was an outstanding citizen who knew that the path to success is a treacherous one but, step by step, one can get there through hard work and commitment.”
Family described him as soft-spoken and kind – a man of the people.
“His smile was contagious. He lit the room,” his cousin said. “His demise is one that has sent waves through the Kenyan-American community.”
Authorities haven’t said how they identified Bryant as the suspect in Ngangi’s killing. He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.
It has also emerged that the robbery that would put a stop at Mike’s promising life was not the first that he had to deal with.
According to his close friend and business partner Kelly Ochieng, Mike called him on Saturday morning and told him he had been robbed at gun point the previous night (Friday), and that the robbers warned him not to call or inform cops.
On a Facebook post on his timeline that also captures what would be Mike’s recorded interactions with his friend(s), Kelly further notes that Mike was growing weary of the never ending robberies that he had to endure, and was looking to relocate his business if the owners of the building did not address the situation: