Police arrested three men today in connection with the slaying of an aspiring law student who was apparently the victim of mistaken identity in a home invasion.
Bilal Russell, 24, was gunned down on January 14 after opening to the door of his home near 500 E. Euclid to three strangers, crashing through a window in a futile attempt to flee his attackers.
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What makes this case especially tragic is that Russell (pictured above) seemed to have so much going for him. He had, say some, become a "pillar in the South Phoenix community:" a former star high school athlete and mentor to abused and disadvantaged youth. His parents, Larry and Paulette, are the sort of people who take in foster kids -- they're currently taking care of the children of Blair and Kimu Parker, the former Scottsdale residents who were convicted in 2007 and 2008 of starving their kids nearly to death.
Police say three men about Bilal's age were booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in the case: Cameron Braxton, 25; Dewone Hurd, 23; and Khalid Nasr, 19. Channel 3 (KTVK-TV) has their mug shots. Few details have been released yet about the arrests or why police believe they killed Russell.
Whoever the killers were, they would have probably liked Bilal -- had they gotten to know him.