"I never expected to get a call like that from my son," said Naqeed Anderson.
Anderson said it still doesn’t feel real when last Friday his 19-year-old son Jihad and his girlfriend, Samari, left to go get dinner. While they were stopped at a busy intersection in Rainier Valley, someone opened gunfire.
"It’s something that no one can prepare for because we did everything that as a parent you’re supposed to do and he's done everything as a kid you’re supposed to do to keep something like this from happening, I mean what else can you do?" said Anderson.
Samari was shot in her side and is still recovering in a local hospital. Doctors are unable to remove the bullet as it’s too close to her spine. Jihad’s injury isn’t considered as medically serious, but it is still life-altering. "He's a college quarterback, on a scholarship to play football, and he got his [injury] in his throwing hand," said Anderson.
Jihad, also 19 years old, is a junior at Miles College and prays his hand will be recovered by the end of July. He says he’ll be ready for the season, but the extent of the injury is still unknown. The senselessness of it is gut-wrenching for family.
"I know every dad says this, but I have the type of son that everybody wants to have," said Anderson.
Both Jihad and Samari took college courses during high school and still graduated early. They’re both straight-A students with big goals. Currently, they both attend school out of state and are home just for the summer. They have no idea why anyone would want to harm them.
"The way these shootings are going right now there's no, there's no rhyme or reason for the way that they’re doing things, it’s like they’re playing video games with people’s lives right now," said Anderson.
It’s not the first time the family has been rocked by violence. Last year, one of Jihad’s best friends and longtime teammate, UW freshman Conner Dassa-Holland was gunned down on mother’s day.
"He was a straight-A student himself, he was a class president, and somebody murdered this kid in front of his house," said Anderson. "You’re killing kids and shooting kids who obviously are doing everything to stay away from that life to get out and do something with themselves, you’re destroying the future of the neighborhood."
The family is focused on Jihad’s recovery and keeping his football dreams going that he’s worked towards since he was a child, but nothing can erase the trauma of it all. "People tell me all the time you’re lucky he's alive and yes I feel blessed he’s alive and we appreciate it that but he shouldn’t have to be lucky to be alive, it’s not something he should be going through at all."
Jihad’s case is just one of over 200 shootings Seattle Police say has happened within the last six months. Whoever shot him and his girlfriend are still out there. SPD is asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact them.
Another repercussion of the shooting has been the loss of Jihad’s dream car that he worked two jobs to save up for. The car has been taken in as evidence where the family is told it could remain for years. A gofundme has been set up to try to purchase him a new car. A gofundme has also been set up to help with expenses on Samari's long road to recovery.
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