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Buffalo's Bangladeshi community mourns death of boy struck by car

The death of 4-year-old Tasfiq Tofa, who was struck by a car Tuesday evening on Sycamore Street, caused grief in the tightknit Bangladeshi community on Buffalo’s East Side.

“Any father who has lost a son knows how I feel now,” said Fadilah Ahmed, the boy’s father. “It’s bad for me. Our community is not that big, but we are committed and united. And we are trying to build up Buffalo’s East Side.”

Ahmed briefly answered questions from the media Wednesday inside the colorfully decorated house on Fillmore Avenue, where the table was set for a meal. A fenced vegetable garden occupied the entire front yard.

The boy’s family is part of Buffalo’s burgeoning Bangladeshi community, many of whom have settled in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

“We need help from the city. My son is dead,” Ahmed said. “I am speechless right now.”

 

Tasfiq, who would have turned 5 next month, was struck by a vehicle traveling west on Sycamore at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Tasfiq and his mother, Fatema Yasmin, were crossing Sycamore when he was struck, said relatives and friends who gathered Wednesday morning at the family’s home. Yasmin was two steps behind Tasfiq, who had been holding her hand but ran ahead, relatives said.

The boy was apparently wedged under the car and dragged for a short distance. Police identified the driver as a 22-year-old man.

“The driver had to pull over because (Tasfiq) was stuck under his vehicle,” said Mohammed Hussain, who lives on Gibson Street near the Broadway Market.

The driver, who is cooperating with police, has not been charged, Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said, adding that the car was impounded for further testing.

Relatives blamed high speed for the fatal accident, and Ahmed complained that a traffic light wasn’t working properly. Police said speed was not a factor.

“We went to the Mayor’s Office to ask if there was anything he could do about the drivers who drive 50 mph on this tiny little road,” Hussain said. “We have kids running around in the summertime.”

Hussain said he stayed with the grieving family until 4 a.m. Wednesday before returning later in the morning. “We’re really hoping they pay attention because we have a big community here of working-class people,” Hussain said. “We mind our own business, trying to make life easier, have family time plus work hard and have a house. That’s the whole idea.”

Four months ago, another young life was taken when a car ran over a stroller on Moselle Street.

Nyree Greene, 7 months old, was killed on the evening of June 19. The driver, D’Andre Turner, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and driving while impaired by drugs after authorities said she was high on marijuana at the time of the accident.

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