Mohammad Sharifi, 24, was shot and killed Feb. 19, two weeks before he was to marry 22-year-old Sara Baluch
Instead of getting married last weekend, a Tennessee woman put on her wedding dress and wore it to the cemetery to mourn her fiancé, who had been murdered two weeks earlier.
“We were supposed to be together,” the woman, 22-year-old Sara Baluch, said through tears as she knelt Sunday at the grave of 24-year-old Mohammad Sharifi, reports the Times Free Press. “I’m so sorry, Mohammad.”
Sharifi allegedly was shot and killed by D’Marcus White Feb. 19 in the parking lot outside a Chattanooga apartment as Sharifi tried to sell his Xbox One gaming system, reports WRCB.
At the time, the shooting suspect, who has since been charged with robbery and homicide, was on probation following his conviction for another assault last year, according to WDEF.
It could not be determined if White had entered a plea. An attorney who could speak on his behalf was not identified in records of the Hamilton County jail, where White currently is being held, PEOPLE confirms.
In interviews with the Times Free Press on Sunday, when Baluch visited the gravesite outside of Nashville a day after the couple’s planned wedding, and on Feb. 27, Baluch told the story of how she and Sharifi had found each other and envisioned a life together.
He had been insistent in his desire to ask her out after they met as students at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. But she put him off for a month. She wanted to focus on school and didn’t have time for a relationship, she said.
When at last she relented, “I know this sounds like a movie and that it can’t be true,” she said, “but that night, I knew he was it. And so did he!”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Within two weeks they were in love.
“All he wanted to do was make people smile,” she said. “He would say anything just to make people laugh. You don’t find that kind of care in people. People our age are just so selfish now. But him, he was nothing like that.”
Baluch added, “You’d have half a cup, and he would fill that cup for you. Somehow, he would give you the world. Oh my God, he was perfect.”
The couple was “full of joy,” said her father, Masoud Baluch, according to the Times Free Press.
“Every time they came to my home, they brought joy everywhere,” he said. “It was happy.”
Sharifi’s father described his son as selfless. “He always tried to please us,” Mohssen Sharifi said. “He always asked me, ‘Are you happy? Are you OK?’ “
The grieving fiancée said, “When you came to him with a problem, it became his problem. He would sit there and try to tell you how you can fix it. He wouldn’t just sit there and be like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ “
He already had renovated his parents’ suite as a home for the new couple to move into, and after the wedding, he looked ahead to his graduation this spring.
“He was so organized,” said Sara. “He was so motivated. He wanted to make a life. He wanted to make a life for us so bad.”
She turned 22 on Feb. 27, a week after he was shot. But the birthday presents he’d bought ahead of time were waiting for her.
“He was so excited to give it to me,” she said. “He said, ‘Whenever you have it, you have to promise me that you’re gonna wear it for our wedding ceremony.’ “
His mother presented her the gifts when Sara went to Nashville Feb. 22 for her fiancé’s funeral, after which he was buried at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, where she would kneel Sunday at the grave wearing her ivory chiffon wedding dress and a tulle veil fastened by a pearl hair piece.
Among the gifts he’d left for her was the Rolex watch he had promised her while on a trip together to Hawaii.
“I had no idea he kept his promise,” she said, again through tears, according to the Times Free Press. “That’s why he was so excited to give it to me. It was the hardest thing because he got them for me. He’s not here and he’s still surprising me. He’s not here and he’s still giving me the world!”
She still sees him in her dreams, “but he won’t talk to me,” she said. “I begged him. I made him a promise. I said, ‘I promise I’ll love you forever if you promise just to come to my dreams so we can make memories together.”
She added: “He just comes to me and he holds me. That’s all he does. I’m happy. I’m so grateful. That’s the closest thing I’ve been getting to holding him. But I want to ask him, ‘Are you OK?'”
Others have told her the couple’s love “was so powerful that it couldn’t exist on this earth, that the only way to separate us was through death,” Sara said.
“Our love had to exist in a different world,” she said. “It couldn’t exist here. It was too perfect.”