PEORIA, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK/CNN) - A man suspected of killing a 17-year-old told police he heard the teen playing rap music, which made him feel "unsafe."
Police say the teen, Elijah Al-Amin, was inside a Circle K store Thursday when Michael Adams, who had just been released from prison, came up and stabbed him in the neck.
Friends say Elijah Al-Amin had big plans to own his own business one day. But on the Fourth of July, police say he went to the soda machine inside a Circle K when Michael Adams, 27, attacked.
Adams, who had just been released from prison, stabbed the teen in the neck with a pocket knife and slit his throat.
Areanna Ivery worked with Al-Amin at Taco Bell for a year and says they bonded over his passion.
"He talked about rap music all the time," Ivery said. "He loved rap artists."
Ivery says Al-Amin would memorize lyrics, saying he felt like the music spoke to him and his experiences.
"It just gave him a sense of purpose in a way, that he went through a lot of the things that they went through," she said.
Jacie Cotterell, Adams' attorney, said he was released from the Arizona Department of Corrections on July 2, after serving a 13-month sentence.
The police report says Adams told police the 17-year-old was listening to "rap music" in his car, and he believes people who listen to rap are a threat to him and the community.
Adams admitted to stabbing Al-Aminm, the report stated.
"This is a disabled person, and he's been released into the world and left to fend for himself," Cotterell said. "And two days later, this is where we are."
The attorney says the Department of Corrections failed Al-Amin. She said Adams was put back on the streets with no resources or psychiatric help, even though he had a past of severe mental illness and violent crimes.
She wants policy to change, so no other teen has their life senselessly cut short.
"He had a lot of dreams that he told me about that he really wanted, Ivery said. "And I just wish, if I could talk to him one more time, I'd say, 'Dude, go follow those deals that you wanted to do.' Everyone deserves that."
Adams' attorney says her client needs to be treated for his mental illness, not sentenced to prison. The Department of Corrections said Adams wasn't designated as seriously mentally ill.