Father Forgives Son’s Murderer: A Story of Healing and Hope

San Diego, California – When Azim Khamisa received the devastating news of his son’s tragic murder during a robbery gone wrong, his world shattered. As he crumpled to the floor in agony, holding himself close to a refrigerator, the pain was unbearable. Tariq Khamisa, a college sophomore at San Diego State University working as a pizza deliveryman, was fatally shot by a 14-year-old gang member in 1995 for resisting a robbery.

In the midst of his deep despair after his son’s death, Azim Khamisa experienced a profound moment of clarity. He realized that forgiveness was the path he needed to take, even towards his son’s killer. This sparked a journey that was uncommon and filled with challenges but ultimately led to healing and transformation.

Despite the heinous act committed by the young killer, Khamisa recognized that societal issues were at play, leading to young individuals falling through the cracks and resorting to violence. This realization inspired him to turn his grief into action, founding the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to prevent youth from heading down destructive paths.

Through years of outreach and speaking engagements at schools, prisons, and events, Khamisa and Tony Hicks, the young man who took Tariq’s life, forged an unlikely bond. Their story serves as a powerful testament to the transformative power of forgiveness and the importance of addressing the root causes of youth violence.

Hicks, who was incarcerated for 24 years and released on parole at age 38, found solace and purpose through the forgiveness extended to him by the Khamisa family. Their support and understanding helped him navigate the difficult process of self-examination and rebuilding his life.

As they continue to advocate for restorative justice and healing, the Khamisas and Hicks have become a chosen family, bound by shared experiences and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Their story is a reminder that forgiveness, compassion, and understanding have the power to heal deep wounds and inspire lasting change.