'They've been threatening to kill us'
December 5, 2006
By FRANK ABDERHOLDEN FABDERHOLDEN@SCN1.COM
When most people hear the story of what happened to Sharif and Saffiyya Darr of Zion -- a home intruder burst into their home and they shot him and he died -- they immediately side with them.
• Police, Muslim community address threats
But the Darr's are learning that someone people are now calling them and threatening them, so they have fled their house and are spending time with family or friends.
The young man who was shot, Gerell Davis, was apparently a gang member.
The Darr's are not happy that someone was killed, and you will not see the Muslim couple as a poster family for the National Rifle Association.
"It's just been crazy," said Sharif Darr. "They've been threatening to kill us and other family members. My grandson has a MySpace (site), and that same night there was a threat on it. My sister called and said someone called and said, 'Your brother killed my brother, and now I'm going to kill your b****.'
"My heart goes out to the family (of the slain home invader). We have grandkids the same age," he said, also noting that the picture that has been running in the newspapers is a younger version of the 16-year-old Davis.
"This young man is connected to us in intricate ways," he said, relating how one of Darr's relatives nearly married one of Davis's relatives, which would have made them family.
When Davis came to their back door the first time, Davis actually identified himself as Darr's nephew Horace.
Darr said the incident began while he was on the telephone in one room and his wife was saying prayers in another around 10 p.m. when his wife heard someone jiggling the front door. She asked for the person to identify himself -- two to three times and loud enough to be heard outside -- but no one answered.
He looked out the window, but the person was walking around to the back door. It was at that point that he identified himself as a nephew. Then he went back to the front door.
Darr said he tried to look out the window, but the person had a hood on and so he couldn't tell who it was. He opened the door, the screen door was still locked, and the person would not look at him and his wife told him to close the door.
"At that time we were going to call 9-1-1," Darr said, but the person outside returned to the back door and Darr heard a loud "boom" as he began kicking in the door. In the meantime, when he wouldn't say who he was, Darr's wife went to get the gun from the bedroom. As the young man came through the door, Darr heard two shots in quick succession and the young man dropped to the floor. That's when the couple called 9-1-1.
The Darrs are not gun owners. The gun was registered and belonged to a relative who wanted it out of the house for a period of time for personal reasons. The relative had a state firearm owner's identification card, which is required in Illinois.
"The whole thing couldn't have been more than 90 seconds. Some people (on the radio) questioned why we didn't call 9-1-1. By the time we realized it was not our nephew, there wasn't enough time to call 9-1-1," he said.
"We had very little time to make a decision," he said.
Darr said he believes the young man may have been hoping that they had merchandise in the house from their eBay business.
His wife is still trying to deal with the situation.
"She is still messed up over this. We may have to take her to the hospital," he said.