Two Fathers Turn Tragedy into Change | NBC 7 San Diego

Two Fathers Turn Tragedy into Change

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    After the Isla Vista shooting, the father of one of the victims says he wants to meet with the father of the man accused of killing his son. As NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala explains, this mirrors a similar case in San Diego. (Published Tuesday, May 27, 2014)

    A San Diego man whose son was murdered hopes the father of one of the Isla Vista shooting victims can find peace.

    Richard Martinez’s son Christopher, a student at UC Santa Barbara, was killed in Friday’s rampage. Now, Martinez says he’s willing to meet with the father of accused shooter Elliot Rodger.

    "I've heard reported that he said that he would dedicate his life to try to make sure this doesn't happen again,” Martinez said. “I share that with him, and I would like to meet him."

    To some, it would seem impossible to face your child’s killer. However, two San Diego men on the opposite sides of a horrible crime found a way to turn tragedy into change.

    Gang member Tony Hicks shot Tariq Khamisa to death in San Diego in 1996. Since then, Tariq’s father Azim Khamisa has dedicated his life to ending gang violence by joining with Hicks’ grandfather and forming the Tariq Khamisa Foundation.

    “(My son did) not die in vain. Something good came from this tragic event,” Azim said in an interview with NBC 7 in January. 

    "My wish for the fathers of this tragedy is that they can really learn from it and come together and create some sort of foundation and partnership and realize violence isn't the end, that really that violence can be the beginning," said Jeanne Rawdin, Executive Director of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation.

    The foundation said it has helped more than 500,000 kids through its mentorship programs.

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