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Family of slain Loyola student recalls his potential

Ahmed Rehab kept thinking about all the work, the love that brought 23-year-old Mutahir Rauf to the cusp of a life of immense possibility.

“To be taken by a gunman’s bullet in just a split second for a $20, $40 — that’s a very difficult concept to grasp,” said Rehab, a family spokesman for Mutahir Rauf’s family, speaking to reporters Tuesday.

Family and friends gathered to remember what was and what might have been for Rauf, a pre-med student at Loyola University Chicago, who was shot and killed during a Dec. 5 attempted robbery. Rauf was with one of his two brothers in the 1200 block of West Albion just before 8 p.m. when two men walked up and showed a weapon. Rauf thought the weapon was fake, tried to grab it and was shot, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) has said.

Police had no new updates about the case Tuesday, but Rauf’s family remain confident police will eventually find the gunman.

For now, the family is focusing on justice for Rauf — and something more.

“We seek peace, not vengeance, understanding, not bigotry,” Mokaram Rauf, one of the Loyola student’s brothers, told reporters at Piper Hall on the university’s lakeshore campus. “We see this brutal act as being symptomatic of a greater epidemic of poverty and violence pervading Chicago ….”

Mokaram Rauf recalled his brother as a loving sibling who enjoyed bodybuilding and who, after working with the poor in the Philippines, decided to become a doctor.

“A man who wanted to be a doctor, who wanted to give back to the world,” his brother said. “Any time you lose a person with that kind of vision, that kind of clarity and conviction, it’s tragic for anybody.”

Mutahir Rauf was born in Pakistan. The family later moved to New York. Rauf went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern University last year and, when he died, was a post-baccalaureate student in Loyola’s pre-health professional program.

“To the world and to the community, this is someone who could have been the discoverer of a cure for Ebola or AIDS or cancer,” Rehab said. This was a bright young man with vision, with perspective, with hard work and he was on his way. And he’s been taken from us.”