Class mourns student death

Asieh Kashkouli, was killed in apparent murder-suicide Nov. 2 in Canoga Park, police said. Photo courtesy: Maryam Baharanch

It had been four years since Pierce student Asieh Moradi Kashkouli had seen her parents who lived in Iran, and friends say that she had a count-down, eagerly awaiting their arrival.

 

However that day never came.

 

Kashkouli died one day before her parents arrival.

 

Kashkouli, 25,  was found dead– along with Bahram Varahram, 29– in a residence on the 7100 block of Canoga Park’s Farralone Avenue on Nov. 2, according to a Daily News article.

 

The Daily News spoke with Officer Rosario Herrera of the Los Angeles Police Department and Lieutenant Fred Corral of the coroner’s office.

 

“When officers arrived and entered the residence they found two victims with gunshot wounds,” Herrera said.

Varahram shot Kashkouli and then turned the gun on himself, Corral said.

Early investigations by the Topanga Area Homicide Detectives appears that the two were dating, according to the Los Angeles Police Department Media Release.

Craig Kramer a Professor of English, had Kashkouli in his English 84 class.

 

He sat in his office remembering how he found out about the death of one of his students.

 

“I came in and it was obvious by the look on some students faces that something terrible had happened, and I basically found out through my students,” Kramer said.

 

Family and friends gathered on Thursday, Nov.8 at the Forest Lawn Memorial- Mortuaries, Hollywood Hills to remember Kashkouli.

 

There were about 30-40 people, and most of the ceremony was in Farsi, according to Kramer, who attended the memorial.

 

“Her parents were there, her mother and father–  they were actually coming out to visit her and she was really looking forward to that,” Kramer said. “The day before she was murdered, in class she wrote an essay about her father, and how her father was her best friend.”

 

Kashkouli’s essay was given to a family friend by Kramer the day of the memorial and in turn it was given to her father the day of the funeral, according to Kramer.

 

He now faces the task of having to continue teaching the rest of the semester without Kashkouli.

 

“Everything is going to seem so trivial in comparison, talking about noun clauses, and writing paragraphs and such it just seems so unimportant at this point, but I know I have to move us forward,” Kramer said.

 

His English 84 class was canceled on Thursday, Nov. 8 for the memorial.

 

Beth Benne, Director of the Health Center, spoke to his class about grief on Tuesday, the first class meeting after the memorial.

 

Benne arranged for there to be group and individual grief counseling with clinical phycologist PSY.D Niaz Khani starting at 5:30p.m. in the Student Health Center.

 

Stress balls in the shape of hearts, and grief pamphlets were handed out to students as well as an open invitation for anyone that wanted to share and was unable to make it to the grief session.

 

“We can help you guys get through this,” Benne said.

 

Different students wiped away tears as Benne spoke, unable to hid their emotion.

 

It was then that students started to share different memories of Kashkouli.

 

Maryan Bahranchi, one of Kashkouli’s classmates remembers her for the love she had for her father.

 

She was excited about seeing her father, so she could show him how much her English had improved, according to Bahranchi.

 

One day that stands out to Bahranchi is the day that Kashkouli brought her boyfriend to class, the same man that is accused of killing her.

 

“I didn’t like him at first sight, ” Bahranchi said. “He was always upset and so serious.”

 

Mehri Ebtekary, an art major, remembers sharing her art with Kashkouli.

 

They spoke of the future and recalls Kashkouli waiting to be a dentist.

 

Wright Tahmasuan, sat close to her and remembers how she had everything planned out.

 

“She wanted to learn English first, and then take basic classes to become a dentist,” Tahmasuan said.

 

Kashkouli had a signature look, according to Tahmasuan.

 

“She was pretty girl, who always wore a baseball cap, and had a signature perfume,” Tahmasuan said.

Kashkouli showed no signs of harm in the past, according to Kramer.

 

“You would think from her demeanor that she was one of the happiest people in the world, you wouldn’t suspect something like that going on because she was always in a good mood, always really positive,” Kramer said.

 

“She liked everybody and everyone liked her, she was very noticeable in class with her participation,” Kramer said.

 

Iris Rodriguez agreed with Kramer.

 

She sat behind Kashkouli in class.

 

“You noticed when she walked in, because she said hello to everyone,” Rodriguez said.

 

Shiva Sadeghi remembered how much Kashkouli enjoyed eating bananas.

 

Kashkouli’s sister was at the funeral and wondered why no one had done anything for her sister to get her away from her boyfriend, according to Kramer.

 

One of Kashkouli’s classmates, Iran Kahn, could not hold back the tears as her emotions got the better of her while she described their last interaction.

 

“She was so positive, and she said nothing was wrong,” Kahn said. “I believed her.”

 

Many students in Kramer’s class echoed Kahn’s perception of a young, independent woman fully involved in a healthy relationship.

 

“You would think from her demeanor, that she was just one of the happiest people in the world, always in a good mood, always smiling,” Kramer said.

 

However, no one saw any indication of violence until it was too late.

 

“She is the age of my daughter,” Kahn said. “It’s just not fair.”

 

For Kramer, his main focus is on the students in his class, many of whom have taken multiple classes together.

 

“We don’t want to go through the denial that is so common among us humans of what this bad situation is,” Kramer said. “We have to face the bad situation and try to make it better.”

 

As his class reflected on life without their friend and classmate, Kramer offered some sound advice.

 

“We just need to keep our eyes open not only on the people in our own life, but we need to try to look out for our friends as well,” Kramer said.

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Written by Monica Velasquez

Features Editor Fall 2012

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