MEXICO CITY - Malcolm Shabazz, 28, grandson of political activist Malcolm X, died in Mexico City after a bar fight, Mexican authorities said Friday.
City prosecutors are investigating the attack that sent Shabazz to a hospital, where he died Thursday of blunt-force trauma injuries. U.S. officials confirmed that Shabazz was killed in Mexico City.
Much like his grandfather, Shabazz spent his youth in and out of trouble. At 12, he set a fire at his grandmother's apartment, a blaze that resulted in the death of Malcolm X's widow, Betty Shabazz. He spent four years in juvenile detention. He later was sent to prison on attempted robbery and assault charges.
In recent years, Shabazz seemed to seek redemption, saying he was writing a memoir and traveling around the world speaking out against youth violence. Before his trip to Mexico, he reached out to a group of Mexican construction workers in the United States.
Malcolm X, who inspired books and a 1992 Hollywood movie, was shot to death as he delivered a speech in a Harlem ballroom in 1965. Shabazz's mother, Qubilah, was only 4 at the time.
Labor activist Miguel Suarez, who was traveling with Shabazz, told the Associated Press that his friend was beaten up at a bar near Plaza Garibaldi, a downtown square.
Plaza Garibaldi is popular with tourists, but the pair were at a bar across the street. "We were dancing with the girls and drinking," said Suarez. Then the owner of the bar wanted them to pay a $1,200 tab, saying it was for music, drinks, and the women's companionship.
Suarez said he was taken by a man with a gun to a separate room. Shabazz stayed in the hall. Suarez said he heard a commotion in the hall and escaped from the room and the bar altogether. He returned in a cab to look for Shabazz and found him injured on the ground outside the bar. He said he took Shabazz him to a hospital, where he died four hours later.