RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Family and friends celebrated the life of 30-year-old Soheil Mojarrad on Saturday.
The Raleigh man was shot and killed by a police officer in a shopping center parking lot a week ago.
Mojarrad’s brother says the idea of a traditional funeral just didn’t suit Soheil Mojarrad, so that’s why they held a celebration of life instead.
One of the things his family is most proud of is Soheil Mojarrad’s garden. Mojarrad’s father said his son started it a week before his death.
He says his son wanted to start a nonprofit to grow food to feed the homeless.
Mehrdad Mojarrad says his son struggled with his mental illness, but no matter how much he was hurting, he held on to his positive attitude.
“Even in his darkest times when he was suffering like agony and I would feel it, he just would give you a hug and say, ‘it’s okay’,” said Mehrdad Mojarrad.
“I feel really lucky that I was able to have him in my life for 30 years,” said Siavash Mojarrad, Soheil’s older brother.
He died a week ago after he was shot by a Raleigh police officer.
“I’m not mourning his loss — I’m just a proud dad because he’s changing the world and I know that,” said Mehrdad.
Soheil was in a car accident about 10 years ago. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused him permanent brain damage and struggled with mental illness ever since.
“Mental illness isn’t something that should be off in the corner and not talked about.”
Soheil’s brother says he’s been on different medications and in and out of mental hospitals for years.
He hopes his brother’s death will help start a larger conversation about helping vulnerable members of society.
What Siavash Mojarrad wants people to remember most about his brother is that he saw value in everyone.
“He’s the kind of guy who would literally and has given the shirt off his back to someone,” Siavash Mojarrad said.
“Who literally has given the last of his food multiple times because he saw someone and said ‘I think they’re having a worse day than me.’ The last cent out of his pocket because he’s like ‘I think they can use this more than I can right now.’ Who has met someone and within the first ten minutes of knowing them, saw they were homeless and they were cold and he said ‘hey you can come crash in my car or my van today’ and that person came and found us. That’s what’s I want people to remember about Soheil, that’s who he was.”
The SBI is still investigating the shooting. Raleigh police said Soheil Mojarrad pulled a knife from his pocket and moved aggressively toward the officer before being shot.
Soheil Mojarrad’s family says he was wrongfully killed and they will continue to fight for justice.