TURLOCK – Samir Shirzad fled Kabul the day before it fell to the Taliban.
The city was his home for the last four years where he lived with his sisters and parents. Prior to that they lived in a northern province of Afghanistan until it became unsafe.
As the Taliban began to occupy his home, Samir took the opportunity to flee while he could, with the promise of supporting his family from abroad.
“Inshallah,” Samir said, which means “God willing.”
Through an organization called International Rescue Committee, Samir was able to flee Kabul and come to the United States. Within a couple of days, he was in Turlock hoping to find work.
“Tomorrow I have an appointment with my caseworker to apply for everything I need to work.”
Samir worked as an interpreter in Afghanistan. His English is very good, so he was able to quickly find jobs in logistics and construction. Often times he worked between US Military and their Afghan counterparts translating through various projects. Both of his parents are teachers. His father taught for 20 years, and his mother teaches at a local college.
With the Taliban takeover, some essential services have been cut off. Since he fled Kabul, Taliban fighters had gone to his father’s house looking for him, Samir said. His father told them Samir was dead and to leave the family alone.
“They only have about a week supply of food left,” Samir said. His need to find work is urgent to him.
“It is my wish to work. I would like to be a guard, or a driver, anything.”
Monday, Samir found himself at Donnelly Park enjoying the afternoon. He was approached by a man who had asked to borrow his cell phone to make a phone call. Samir agreed, but the man took the phone and ran.
Samir was able to call for help, and police responded within a few minutes. At around the same time, officers were investigating a report of a stolen vehicle that was taken from a cafe on Geer Road. The suspect who took Samir’s phone was sitting in the stolen vehicle.
The suspect fled as officers approached, but he was quickly apprehended. An ambulance was called for the man as he showed indications of being under the influence of a substance.
“He was acting very strangely,” Samir said. “He moved and waved his arms like something was wrong.”
Police were able to return the owner of the car to his stolen vehicle. Samir was very pleased with the response of the officers.
“In my country, maybe I would have seen my phone in ten days. Here, in ten minutes.”
Police Investigate Reported Shooting
MODESTO – Police responded to a report of a person shot Thursday near a busy intersection.
Shortly before noon officers were called to a report of a shooting near the intersection of McHenry and Orangeburg Avenues.
Early reports indicate one person was found injured near a bus stop. Arriving first responders attempted life saving measures.
The parking lot of the Pep Boys/Advance Auto Parts was closed off as a crime scene along with Orangeburg Avenue east of McHenry Avenue. By 12:30, investigators were arriving on scene.
One person may have been detained, a second person may have ran to a hospital for care. Stay tuned for further details.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Modesto Police or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.
Shooting Investigated in South Modesto
MODESTO – Emergency personnel responded to a report of a person shot Saturday night near Imperial Avenue.
Shortly before 10:00pm emergency personnel responded to the 100 block of Imperial Avenue for a report of a person shot. Arriving deputies located one person who was shot in a pathway between Imperial and Glenn. Fire and medical crews also responded to the scene.
There was no confirmed suspect information available at time of publication, but it was believed the person responsible fled the area on foot.
The area was taped off by deputies.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 where callers can remain anonymous.
Shooting Investigated on Pacific Avenue
STOCKTON – Officers with the Stockton Police Department investigated a report of a person shot late Thursday morning near Sherwood Mall.
The shooting happened at about 10:45am in the mall’s parking lot. Early reports indicate at least one person was struck by gunfire. The area was taped off and surrounding roadways were closed to traffic.
An alert from San Joaquin Delta College read as follows:
“Mustang Alert!: Police Activity at Mall – Shooting across from Stockton campus at the mall. Suspects fled away from campus. Delta is safe. Avoid Pacific Avenue.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.
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