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Family of 20-year-old student fatally shot by Cambridge police ‘devastated’ by loss

An apartment complex at 625 Putnam Ave. in Cambridgeport was the focus of police investigators Wednesday night.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The family of a 20-year-old college student who was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon by a Cambridge police officer said they were “completely devastated and in disbelief” following his death.

Sayed Faisal of Cambridge was shot after he allegedly charged at an officer with a long knife and ignored commands to drop the weapon, authorities said.

Faisal, whom his family called “Prince,” “was the most wonderful, loving, caring, generous, supportive, and deeply family-oriented person,” according to the Friday statement from his parents, Sayed Mujibullah and Mosammat Shaheda, that was released through the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


“He loved to travel, create art, and play sports with his friends,” Mujibullah and Shaheda said of their son. “He expressed his feelings through gifts; he never forgot special occasions and always made sure that those around him felt appreciated.”

Faisal’s parents said he loved his friends, family, and community and “treated everyone with love, respect, and loyalty.”

“Prince was a normal law-abiding citizen who had no record of any kind with law enforcement,” they said. “He was never violent towards anyone. We want to know what happened and how this tragic event unfolded. We will cooperate with law enforcement and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office as they investigate to have an understanding of this devastating event.”

Faisal’s family’s attorney, Barbara J. Dougan, who is legal director for the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Faisal’s funeral and burial will be held Saturday and his family is thankful for the outpouring of community support they have received.

“We ask the public to respect their privacy during this painful time,” Dougan said in the statement.

Faisal’s death angered local residents.

On Thursday, dozens of protesters organized by the Bangladesh Association of New England gathered at Cambridge City Hall to denounce Faisal’s killing and demand a thorough investigation.


The incident unfolded Wednesday afternoon in the Cambridgeport neighborhood.

Police responded about 1:15 p.m. to a 911 call reporting that a man had jumped from a window on Chestnut Street while holding a long knife, the Globe previously reported.

The weapon was later found to be a kukri knife about 10 to 12 inches long, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a briefing Wednesday night.

The caller said that the man, later identified as Faisal, was sitting in a courtyard cutting himself with the knife and a piece of broken glass from the window, according to Ryan.

When officers arrived and Faisal saw them, he ran away, continuing for several blocks around the neighborhood before circling back to Chestnut Street, where he again encountered police, Ryan said.

After officers told Faisal to drop the knife, he allegedly moved toward them, and one officer fired a less-than-lethal sponge round, Ryan said. But Faisal allegedly “continued to advance to the officers holding the knife” and an officer shot Faisal, she said.

Faisal was provided with medical aid at the scene and then taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said. The officer who shot Faisal, whose identity was not released, was placed on leave pending an investigation into the shooting by Ryan’s office, per the police department’s policy, officials said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.