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Help four siblings after parents die in domestic violence shooting

Help four siblings after parents die in domestic violence shooting
Help four siblings after parents die in domestic violence shooting
Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-18 00:24:25-05

AURORA, Colo. — As they sit in a friend's house, Ridah Nejadi, 17, and his sister, Rusul, 15, say they are trying to remember the good times with their parents.

"I try to keep a mindful note that they've been there for me," said Ridha.

Their parents brought them to the United States from Iraq when they were little.

"My parents tried everything to just keep us safe and have a roof over our heads and food and everything," said Rusul.

They say it wasn't uncommon for the household to be loud and filled with chatter from their two younger sisters, ages 6 and 9.

"My parents, they were really good people, really good providers and everything. Especially my mom, my mom was, like, the best mom ever. She was the best person," remembered Rusul.

All too quickly, the family changed forever.

On the evening of Feb. 11, officers with the Denver Police Department responded to the family's home in the 5400 block of Topeka Court for reports of a shooting.

The children's mother, Khitam Jumaah, 33, was taken to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, but succumbed to her injuries. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The children's father, Suars Ghaidan, 45, was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound. He succumbed to his injuries the next day. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner ruled his death a suicide.

"Me and mom were talking, like, five minutes before it happened. We were doing gift bags for my sister's birthday party. And then we were also talking about my sweet 16 and stuff. And then that's literally all there is before it happened," said Rusul. "I wake up every morning hoping that it's a nightmare."

To lose both parents in one night is unimaginable. When you sit down with the two teens, their resiliency is palpable.

"My mom made us like that. If we were upset about something that was not that big of a deal, or we knew that it'd be over soon, she'd yell at us for being emotional about it. I think she toughened us up," explained Rusul, who describes her mother as her best friend.

Rusul's teacher at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, Pamela Leonidas, launched a GoFundMe for the four kids as they face their uncertain future. They have no family members who live in the United States.

"Maybe organizations will sponsor these kids' education so it's not something they have to think about, among the other things that they're going to have to work through and process through," said Leonidas, "I was just like, 'What is it that we need? How can we get the resources possible?' Thinking long-term, not just short-term."

As of Friday night, the fund has raised more than $23,000.

Denver7 Gives has also launched a fund to help the children. One hundred percent of contributions will be used to help support their needs.

If you would like to help the four siblings, visit Denver7 Gives and select "Support Four Siblings Through Tragedy" from the drop-down menu.


Click here to go directly to the Denver7 Gives donation form then choose a campaign

As the siblings navigate together what's next, they have a simple message for all of us.

"Please take your time with your family to figure out all sorts of difficulties they're having," said Ridha.

"Hug your moms, hug your parents," Rusul added.

If you believe you are in a domestic violence situation, there is help available. You can text "START" to 88788 to be connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or you can call 800-799-7233. Safehouse Denveralso offers a 24-hour help and information line at 303-318-9989.