In 1995, a 14-year-old student killed Tariq. His father takes in a murderer's family.

In 1995, Tariq Khamisa, a sophomore at San Diego State University, earned extra money while studying by delivering pizzas in the evenings. While searching for a client's address, he suddenly encountered four young gang members who wanted to rob him. During the confrontation, a 14-year-old youth in the group pulled out a pistol. The following story is hard to believe.

Tariq's killer Tony: 'I was trying to impress my friends'

When Tariq's father, a 75-year-old man, told his story to People, he told how Tony Hicks, just 14 at the time, shot his son and he “drowned in his own blood.” At first he couldn't believe it was real when the police gave him the devastating news. “I didn't believe it was true,” he recalled. To be sure, she tried to reach Tariq at home, but only her son's crying fiancé was on the other end of the line. At that moment, he realized the bitter truth: the policeman was right, his son was dead. “I collapsed on the floor, curled up, hit my head on the refrigerator and had my first out-of-body experience because of the pain. was basically unbearable.”

Tony Hicks, an eighth-grader at the time of the crime who had run away from home shortly before the crime, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in Folsom State Prison. The young man at the time considered it necessary to maintain his position in the gang. “I was trying to impress my friends [indem ich Tariq erschoss]”Hopefully they wouldn't leave you and push you away,” he later admitted.

Azim Khamisa starts an aid organization

Tony was aware that what he was doing was a fatal mistake. “When I was arrested, I lied to the police because deep down I knew I had done something wrong.”

Nine months after his son's death, murdered Tariq's father, Azim Khamisa, set up a foundation called the “Tariq Khamisa Foundation” to provide at-risk youth like Tony Hicks with alternative pathways away from crime. Five years after the fateful night that changed his life, Azim met the young man responsible for his son's death and recognized him as more than a criminal. “Tony was 19 years old and I'm trying to find him a murderer, but I didn't. He was remorseful. He had good manners… So I told him, 'I've forgiven you,'” Azim described the memorable meeting.

Tariq's sister felt “a lot of warmth” in the killer's arms.

Tariq's sister also met Tony after a long time and immediately felt comfortable in the murderer's arms. “He just hugged me really tight, really tight. I felt a lot of warmth around us. I felt like my brother was with us.” After his release in 2019, Hicks was allowed to join the board of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and has been lecturing in schools ever since. “It gives me a certain joy to be able to do something like this and work to right the wrongs I've done in my life,” he admits to People to.

Father Azim “took father role with Tony”

Azim, the father, sees his son's killer more as his own son now and has also taken on fatherly duties: “I took on the role of father with Tony because his father wasn't in his life at the time.” He “loves Tony” and his ex-prisoner's grandfather was “just as close” to him. than his own brother. “We are a real family.” For the Khamisas and the Hicks, one thing is certain: their lives should intersect. Tariq's sister, Tasreen, is sure that her brother would have wanted this union between the killer and the victim's family: “He always said that he would change the world – and that you should leave the world better than you found it.”

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