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It happened the night of June 28, 2015, in South Cumminsville, under a highway overpass. Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the back of his head, as he walked home, carrying food for himself and his wife.

The 39-year-old Navy veteran, known by many as “Sam,” was still alive, face-down on the pavement, bleeding. His wallet likely contained less than $60.

Police say there were three robbers. One of them, Javon, who was 14, was seen in a surveillance video pulling money from the front pocket of his pants right after the shooting.

The video showed Javon hand money to the other two. One was 17-year-old Valentino Pettis. Police believe the third person was a man in his 20s, but he was never charged.

After two teenagers pleaded guilty at separate court hearings and were sentenced to prison terms, Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, offered to hug them.

She thinks about it this way: They have been infected by a disease, but are young. They can be cured.

Vengeance, she said, solves nothing. It won’t bring back her son.

With permission from their mothers, she wants to become an advocate for them, visit them regularly while they are in prison, help them get an education and “try to find a solution that will put a light in these young men’s lives for their future.”

She wants to show them that although they have forever harmed her family that she forgives them.

And to make sure that when they’re released they have an opportunity to build a life and be successful.

“Get them to see that there is a better side of life than what they have been seeing up until now,” she said. “To learn how to say no to that which you already know is wrong.”

Courtesy: USA Today



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