ATLANTA, March 18 (AP)--Sympathetic admirers may be hiding Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the 1960s Black Panther activist wanted for allegedly killing one sheriff's deputy and wounding another, authorities said Saturday.
The 56-year-old former black militant once known as H. Rap Brown has eluded authorities since Thursday night. The FBI has joined the national manhunt, issuing a federal fugitive warrant for his arrest.
Capt. David Chadd, chief spokesman for the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, said Saturday that it was ``a distinct possibility'' that Al-Amin was being harbored by friends.
``We will leave no stone unturned until we find this man,'' Chadd said.
Al-Amin is charged with murder and aggravated battery. Police say Al-Amin opened fire Thursday night on two Fulton County deputies as they tried to arrest him for failing to appear in court on theft charges.
Deputy Ricky Kinchen, 35, died the next day. Aldranon English, 28, who was shot in the chest, arms and legs, was hospitalized in good condition Saturday.
Al-Amin is a respected Islamic spiritual leader in Atlanta's West End. Neighbors say he organized summer games for youth and helped drug users kick their addictions.
Nadir Ali, a spokesman for the Community Mosque of Atlanta, cautioned people not to jump to conclusions.
``We ask you to avoid passing judgment until all the facts are in, and not use the media to accuse, try and convict Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin,'' Ali said.
The deputies had tried to arrest Al-Amin at his store Thursday. The warrant had been issued after he failed to appear in court in January for charges of theft by receiving stolen property, impersonating an officer and having no proof of insurance.
As the deputies approached a car at the store, the driver got out and started firing a .223-caliber assault rifle. Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard said English later identified the shooter as Al-Amin.
Authorities believe Al-Amin also was wounded because of a trail of blood from where the shooting occurred to a nearby vacant house.
Al-Amin moved to Atlanta in 1976 after converting to Islam while serving five years in prison for his role in a robbery that ended in a shootout with New York police. He found the 100-member Community Mosque of Atlanta, an orthodox group that belongs to the mainline Sunni branch of Islam.
As justice minister of the Black Panthers in the 1960s, H. Rap Brown once exhorted blacks to arm themselves, saying, ``Violence is as American as cherry pie.''
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