Two little boys who found themselves motherless and, for all intents and purposes, fatherless, following a shooting at The Oaks mall last month now find themselves in the midst of a custody battle.
On March 17, Kevin Crane shot and killed his ex-wife, Parisa Siddiqi, inside the Paper Source store where she worked before turning the gun on himself.
As of press time, Crane, 33, remained in critical condition at the hospital. Since the shooting, the couple’s 4- and 2-year-old sons have remained with Siddiqi’s sister, according to social media posts by family friends.
But now a woman who Siddiqi said threatened her life and against whom she was trying to get a restraining order, is attempting to gain custody of the two children.
On Monday, the Siddiqi family and their supporters were in family court in Los Angeles because Crane’s mother, Sheila Gregory, is fighting for custody.
Aurelia Ayon, Siddiqi’s longtime friend, posted on Facebook on March 27 that she and others will do everything they can to prevent Gregory from gaining custody of the two boys.
“She wants to take them from a peaceful, loving and caring home. We’ve been asked to show up to court with a crowd and show this woman that we will not back down and let her raise these two boys ,” Ayon wrote.
“Parisa would have never allowed anything like this to ever happen.
“We can’t do anything more for Parisa but these two boys have a long life ahead of them and we want it to be the best we can give them and allowing the courts to rule in her favor will not do Parisa’s murder any justice,” the post said.
The April 2 hearing was continued to June 4. According to a family friend, the children will remain with the Siddiqi family in the meantime.
Parisa Siddiqi filed a request for a civil harassment restraining order with the Ventura County Superior Court against her former mother-in-law on March 1, which was 16 days before she was shot dead at the mall.
In a hand-written portion of the request, Siddiqi explained her fear:
“(Gregory) told her son if I kept my kids away from her that that would be the end of me and that she will make sure she gets custody of them after ‘the end’ of me,” Siddiqi wrote.
She was also asking for protection for her children.
“My kids also need to be in this order because, after she harassed me, the next day she went to their school without my knowledge,” Siddiqi typed in her request, which was never granted because she died before a hearing could take place. “I feel that because she is not in her right mind towards me that my kids will also be in danger with her contact.”
Siddiqi offered a quote from what she says was a Feb. 28 text message from Gregory that alludes to a previous encounter or exchange.
“I’m not sure if you (sic) trying to send us to jail for (expletive) you up or what, but when I see you, please keep that same attitude,” Siddiqi quoted Gregory as saying in the text.
Siddiqi’s note goes on to claim Gregory called Siddiqi’s workplace (Paper Source) to try to get her fired.
“She was threatening my job by saying ‘You don’t know who she really is’ (and) ‘She does a lot of bad things there,’ trying to make me lose my job,” the 29-year-old wrote.
Reached by The Acorn on Wednesday, Gregory declined to comment.
Ayon posted on March 30 that Siddiqi’s case is a “national issue.”
“Domestic violence, gun control and a flawed system that we now have to count on for the safety and well-being of the boys,” Ayon wrote. “This is where ‘it takes a village’ really matters. My friendship to Parisa didn’t end when she died and I will continue to advocate for her and the boys and domestic violence victims.”