Abdirahman Mahmoud, left, appears in court Wednesday with his attorney, Luke Rioux. Mahmoud pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the death of Raoul Tshiyuka. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A Portland man on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in a St. John Street shooting that still has more questions than answers.

Abdirahman Mahmoud, 36, is accused of killing 30-year-old Raoul Tshiyuka, whom police said they found shot early in the morning on March 2.

Raoul Mapendo Tshiyuka Courtesy of Tshiyuka family

Mahmoud’s appearance at Cumberland County Superior Court was brief, just long enough for him to deny responsibility for intentionally or knowingly causing Tshiyuka’s death. He is being held without bail.

It remains unclear how police identified Mahmoud as a suspect. SWAT teams searched properties at Wainwright Circle East in South Portland and Wellesley Estates in Portland on March 2 before police say they learned Mahmoud was at 224 Ocean Ave. in Portland and took him into custody.

It’s also unclear whether police believe the men knew each other and what led to the shooting. A police affidavit supporting Mahmoud’s arrest was impounded Tuesday morning.

Mahmoud doesn’t appear to have any criminal history, according to his previous attorney. A background check with the state Bureau of Identification showed Mahmoud has no convictions in Maine.


He is the owner of Go Transportation LLC in Portsmouth, according to business records from the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

In 2022, Mahmoud was the victim of a shooting in the Old Port.

He was inside a bar with a group when they got in an argument with another group, witnesses told police. When the confrontation moved outside, Tyreese Vargas, who was 19 at the time, pulled out a gun and fired it several times at Mahmoud, wounding him and a bystander, police said.

Vargas was charged with attempted murder, two counts of elevated aggravated assault, reckless conduct with a firearm and two counts of violating the condition of release. He has been held at the Cumberland County Jail since his arrest in September 2022, according to the jail’s inmate list.

At a memorial on what would have been Tshiyuka’s 31st birthday, his loved ones said he was the glue that held his large, sprawling family together between Maine and Texas, where his mother and younger siblings moved when Tshiyuka was a young adult. He was often the loud and uplifting voice that quelled people’s anxieties and insecurities, his family said, and wanted his loved ones to take risks and pursue their dreams. He wanted better for the young people in his life, they said.

Tshiyuka was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but his earliest memories were in Atlanta, where his family first lived when they moved to the United States. They came to Maine because they wanted to be somewhere more calm, his girlfriend said during an interview in March.

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