Fridoon Rawshan Nehad was having a manic episode outside of an adult bookstore in San Diego’s Midway neighborhood when San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder shot and killed him.
His family believes that a deep, buried part of Nehad’s past haunted him until that day – a trauma that may have come in the prisons of Afghan rebels in the 1980s.
Nehad and his family were refugees from Afghanistan. Nehad had escaped the country six months before his parents and six sisters had fled themselves. This was during the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan, a time when the Soviets and their Afghan allies were warring against numerous rebel groups known as the mujahedeen. Before Nehad left in the late 1980s, he had served in the Afghan military and been captured by the mujahedeen forces. Thanks to his mother’s pleas, the mujahedeen released him. Soon after, Nehad was able to get out of the country and eventually settled in Germany before coming to the United States a decade later to reunite with the rest of his family.
Nehad never told his family what had happened to him in the military, nor what he went through when fleeing Afghanistan.