Garden Grove community in Southern California has been left heartbroken after a family of three Muslims was tragically killed by an alleged drunk driver who struck them on Halloween night while they were walking on the sidewalk, Long Beach Post News reported.
“They are kind, compassionate, and loving parents,” Michele Winterstein, executive director of the nonprofit For The Child said.
“This is a devastating loss to their families and to all of us in the nonprofit world who knew them and benefited from their volunteer service.”
Yousef “Joseph” Awaida, Raihan Dakhil, and their son Omar, 3, died after being struck by an SUV on a sidewalk in Long Beach on Halloween.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Awaida family’s loved ones have been rallying together — first to help with medical expenses on GoFundMe, and now to assist with funeral costs, with the remainder of the funds to go towards a lasting legacy project.
In just a few days, the campaign has already raised over$212,000 by 3,800 sponsors, according to the site.
“Angel and I are so sorry for this family’s loss. The loss of him, his wife and child is heartbreaking. Please accept our condolences,” wrote one person.
“We are stunned and saddened to hear about the loss of such a wonderful family,” added another user.
“After the news of the death of Yousef, I wondered what life would be like when his wife, Raihan, and baby boy, Omar, woke up. Then came the news that baby Omar passed away the next day. I wondered how tough life would be for Raihan when she woke up as a widow that also lost her baby. Then came the news last night that Raihan has also succumbed to her injuries and returned to her Lord,” imam Omar Suleiman wrote on Facebook.
“All 3 were strolling in this world as a happy family when a drunk driver plowed into them ending their lives. I pray that all 3 now will stroll together in the gardens of paradise in eternity without fear or grief.”
Here are photos of the funeral shared by another member of the Muslim community.
“May you be received by Allah’s mercy, dear Yousef, Raihan, and Omar,” Hussam Ayloush wrote on Facebook.
“This is one of the toughest and saddest days for our local Muslim community in recent years,” he added.
One of the first memorial events held was a prayer on Monday afternoon at the Islamic Society of Orange County.
According to KTLA, thousands of people showed up to the service to pay their respects to the Awaidas.