Foundation of Forgiveness
|pic by Bangin|
Imagine the devastation of losing a son. On January 21, 1995, Azim Khamisa came face to face with this reality. His twenty-year-old son, Tariq, was murdered in a gang-related robbery over two pizzas worth $27.24. Tariq worked for DeMille’s Italian Restaurant in San Diego and went on a delivery to a North Park apartment. Four members of a youth gang known as “The Black Mob” had staged a phony call to steal pizza from a delivery driver.
Tariq refused to comply and attempted to drive away from his assailants. The gang leader ordered a fourteen-year-old named Tony Hicks to shoot the delivery driver. Hicks pulled the trigger of a stolen 9mm semiautomatic handgun and killed Tariq Khamisa.
Tariq was Azim Khamisa’s only son. He was a San Diego State University student who planned to marry a young woman named Jennifer Patchen. They shared a passion for art and thought of moving to New York together. They had been going out for a year and engaged for two months. They were in love.
When Tariq was a child, Azim worked as an international investment banker and spent a lot of time away on business travels. Then Azim and his wife divorced and he was absent from his son’s life. As adults, father and son were learning to reconnect. They frequented a neighborhood restaurant called the Hobnob for breakfasts of steak and eggs or corned beef hash. They reminisced, told stories, and discussed Tariq’s future. Azim wanted his son to go into business. Tariq was interested in photography. Three months before he died, Tariq wrote a letter to his father. The following excerpt from that letter was published in Azim Khamisa’s book, Azim’s Bardo: From Murder to Forgiveness: