SRO Who Improved Relations Between Police, Muslim Community Dies from COVID
Ihab Muhanna was an officer with the Garland Police Department and an SRO at Brighter Horizons Academy, an Islamic school in Garland.
NORTH GARLAND, Texas — A North Texas community is mourning the loss of a cherished school resource officer (SRO) who is being remembered for his service to others.
Ihab Muhanna, 55, died on Jan. 3 from COVID-19 complications, reports WFAA. Muhanna was an officer with the Garland Police Department and also an SRO at Brighter Horizons Academy, an Islamic school in Garland, allowing him to bridge a relationship between police and the Muslim community.
In a Facebook post, the Garland Police Department shared their grief and Muhanna’s impact.
“He was an integral part of our relationship with the Muslim community,” said Lieutenant Pedro Barineau. “He would continuously ask us: What is it that you guys need and how can we help as the Muslim community?”
Family friend Marwan Marouf said children at the school adored him and that he was always the first to arrive at the school and the first to leave.
Despite being a former bodybuilder and someone who prioritized his health and fitness, Muhanna was hit hard by the virus.
“It was a shock, it still is a shock,” said Marouf. “Ihab was the healthiest person in the circle of friends I had.”
Muhanna’s family told WFAA that he started to feel mild symptoms in late December before being admitted to the hospital on Dec. 31. Doctors originally said he was showing improvements but that his condition began to deteriorate drastically on Jan. 2.
“He went into cardiac arrest,” said his son, Tariq. “His heart was really weak and stressed.”
Muhanna was 19 when he immigrated to the United States from Palestine to search for work and an opportunity to start a family. He graduated from Garland’s Citizen Police Academy, Class 47, and leaves behind a wife and four sons.
Tariq is urging anyone who contracts the virus to remain vigilant.
“Don’t overlook the signs,” he said. “Even mild coughs. Just please take it seriously.”
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