At the service Tuesday evening for four people, including two children, who died earlier this week in an apparent murder-suicide, the leader of the Islamic Association of Allen called for the congregation to reach out for help if they find themselves in a difficult situation.
“Ups and downs, physical challenges, emotional challenges, you know, economical, financial stress, duress, we go through all of these things,” Abdul Rahman Bashir told those gathered at the mosque, according to online video of the service. “… For the love of God, if you find yourself between a rock and a hard spot and you need to talk to somebody, find somebody to talk to, somebody you trust.”
A father and mother and their two children were found dead in their North Texas home Monday, Allen police said. The children’s grandmother notified police that she had been locked out of their house for about two hours and family members inside were not answering the door.
When officers entered the residence, they found the family of four had been shot to death. Police told KDFW-TV that the victims were parents Farman Sherwani and Layla Sherwani and their 12-year-old son Shaheen Sherwani and 2-year-old son Mateen Sherwani. Police did not say which person is suspected of killing the others.
On Wednesday afternoon a spokesperson for the Allen Police Department told the Star-Telegram that the investigation into the killing is ongoing, but there were no new updates.
Bashir called the tragedy “unimaginable” for the Sherwanis’ family members, and asked the community to support them with their sympathy and prayers.
“It is not our responsibility and is not expected of us … to be passing judgment on anyone,” he said.
Police told KDFW that the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Lyian Sherwani, drowned earlier this month and investigators believe the girl’s death was a factor in the triple murder and suicide.
After Tuesday’s service, the Islamic Association of Allen hosted a healing circle where counselors were present to help members of the community cope with their grief. On Wednesday night another event was scheduled with licensed counselors and religious leaders to promote mental health and another healing circle is scheduled for Thursday, according to the association’s Facebook page.
Bashir said it is important to raise awareness about mental health and have a system in place where people who are hurting can get help. He also encouraged the community to take time to listen to each other.
“Your few minutes of time and care and attention, it may be the difference between life and death,” he said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with someone, dial 988.