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Amid online outcry, police investigating death of 16-year-old who fell from Capitol Hill building

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SEATTLE – Seattle police are opening an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old boy who fell from a balcony in Capitol Hill on Saturday as allegations that he was pushed have gone viral.

Seattle police initially said Hamza Warsame’s death was a suicide. In a press release Tuesday morning, they acknowledged “community concerns” about the death.

“As with all death investigations, we ask the community to be patient and avoid jumping to conclusions while detectives conduct their work,” police said in the release.

A Twitter hashtag related to the boy’s death, #justice4hamza, quickly spread internationally Tuesday morning, becoming a trending topic in cities on five continents. A Facebook page was also set up.

The unsubstantiated allegations claim the boy was beaten and pushed off a six-story building, possibly for his Muslim faith. At least one person on social media claiming to be Warsame’s cousin said the family believes the boy was pushed.

Police said that due to increased scrutiny in the case, assistant chief Robert Merner is supervising the investigation. The King County Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday afternoon that an autopsy had been completed, but that the cause and manner of death were still pending further investigation.

The boy was reportedly a running-start student at Seattle Central College.