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Teen dispute, not heritage, at root of Amherst egging, police say

Sometimes teenage boys just don’t like other teenage boys.

And that, Amherst police say, is what prompted three teenagers to throw eggs and a rock at the home of two brothers who had been involved in a fight at Williamsville East High School a few days earlier. Not the two brothers’ Palestinian heritage.

“This was a matter of personal dislike. It had nothing to do with race, ethnicity or religion,” said Capt. Enzio G. Villalta, chief of the town’s Detective Bureau. “We determined that as a result of the investigation. The teenagers who were arrested were out in the middle of the night with nothing to do and decided to commit this act. It was immaturity.”

The vandalism occurred at 3 a.m. March 12, just days after brothers Jameel and Adam Siam were suspended along with the student they had fought with in the high school’s commons area after the other student had posted an anti-Muslim image on social media. The vandalism at the brothers’ home originally was believed to be connected to the school incident, but Amherst police say there was no link.

The names of the teenagers involved in the egging and rock incident have not been released because of their ages. One of the two 16-year-olds was charged with criminal mischief for throwing a rock through the front glass storm door of the Siam family’s East Amherst home. The other 16-year-old and the 15-year-old were charged with criminal tampering for throwing eggs at the residence.

The 15-year-old has been petitioned to Erie County Family Court and the 16-year-olds are scheduled to return to Amherst Town Court in late May, when it is expected they will be granted youthful offender status, police said.

After superintendent hearings, Jameel, 16, and Adam, 15, were placed on lengthy suspensions for the school fight, but an agreement was reached that allowed both to return to classes before the end of the school year.

The other student who posted “Siam Slayer” on Instagram with images of an American flag and an Islamic State flag was removed from school for the rest of the school year and placed in an alternative school in the Town of Tonawanda.

A police investigation found nothing to substantiate negative comments made about the brothers, such as being bullies, leading authorities to conclude that the remarks were false rumors started by other adolescents.

Michael B. Berger, the attorney who represented the brothers at the hearings, has said that they were taunted for years by other youths who called them terrorists and members of the Islamic State or ISIS. Berger described the comments as “erroneous and spiteful” and has said he hopes that when the brothers return to school the taunts will be in the past.

The News also learned that a meeting was recently conducted at Williamsville East between the Siam family and the other student’s family to open up lines of communication in an attempt to foster better relations when the other student returns to the high school in September.