Gor Hakobyan is, not was, a man of the highest character and moral fiber. He loved his family and those near to him with an unconditional love and loyalty. Similarly, he loved his motherland of Armenia – the place he called home in his youth and where he returned to live his adult years.
He is loved by many: family, relatives, friends, classmates, and countless others he smiled at along the way. There is much speculation around the circumstances that led to his unjust murder by the police in Yerevan, but there are certain facts that cannot be disputed. Gor moved back to Armenia to settle down, continue his education, and eventually start a family. He would speak to his parents and grandmother daily, eventually expressing concerns to loved ones over his safety near the time of his death. He had information that could expose the wrongdoings of powerful people in Armenia.
Now, just with this base set of facts, is there a possibility that Gor was a victim? The answer, yes. It is rumored by unreliable sources that Gor went to jail in the United States for murdering several people and being a part of Armenian Power. This is false. If he had committed those crimes, he would still be in an American jail cell. In California, the law states that an individual who commits first-degree murder will be punished with life in prison without the chance of becoming free again. The law also states that an individual committing second-degree murder will face a minimum of 15 years in prison. Gor went to jail, but was never charged or sentenced for murder. He was not sentenced for being a gang member. There are court documents available regarding his conviction that confirm what is closer to the truth. I sincerely welcome you to take a look for further clarification.
As a young child, Gor loved to play outdoors. He enjoyed football, basketball, and track & field. He was a gifted student, who thrived in a school setting and enjoyed answering questions when teachers would call upon him. He was a deep thinker, yet laughed at the simple things in life. He could live off kartoshka, feta cheese, and toasted bread. He took care of those around him, always mature well beyond his years. When confronted with obstacles in life, he always showed courage to stand up and face what others naturally fear. He was a born leader, with the ability to capture the attention of a room with the fewest words needed. Gor was the person that many of us wish we could be. It is true that Gor made some poor and very costly decisions, as many of us have, but the man that was initially depicted as a danger to society is not who he was. He had his time to reflect while confined to a cell, time to atone for any sins and earn his second chance. Ask the individuals who knew him. From his teachers and close friends to his priest.
Ask everyone who encountered him and let that shape how he deserves to be remembered. I have taken the time to speak to people and I can assure you that anyone willing to do the same will find nothing short of a young man who loved his family, his motherland, and his religion. Before you give in to fast conclusions, remember that his family deserves better. They must go on each day knowing that Gor’s second chance was taken from him. His family must endure that loss. How would you handle that kind of tragedy? I will always miss him dearly. You, Gor, are the older brother I always wished for.
With love, Haroutoun Melkonian 09-08-2017, San Francisco