Arkan Ali Taha, 14, often stayed late at his father's newsroom in Kirkuk. The editor-in-chief of the weekly Voice of Villages, Ali Taha, treated his son as a journalist in training.
This week the teen was in a cab rushing from home to bring in a flash disk with needed information. He never made it to the paper.
He got caught in the crossfire between gunmen and the U.S. military. Arkan was killed in the back of a taxi. The coroner determined it was an American bullet that caused the fatal wound, his father said Saturday.
"I had four sons and now I have three," he said. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
With the soothing rhythm of the verses of Quran being read in the background to mourn his son's passing, Ali Taha, recalled his son's loves.
The teen listened to pop music and was obsessed with computer games. He loved the weekly trips he took with his father to sites in the area.
The most recent trip was to the Dokan Dam, the primary water source in Kirkuk. He loved to stay late into the night at the Voice of Villages newsroom, a U.S. supported weekly, and help in any way he could.
Who knows what he would've been when he grew up. Who knows what life he would've lived. God had other plans, his father said.
"It was his destiny," he said. "He left at that time to meet that fate. We believe that everything that happens is the voice of God."
A U.S. military press release said that the soldiers were recovering a disabled vehicle when they came under fire. A soldier was wounded. When U.S. soldiers returned fire a "young Iraqi man" in the back of a taxi was shot, the statement said.
"This is an accident that could happen to any Iraqi living in this country today," his father said.
Taha looked to God for strength as so many other Iraqis do now. They mourn and they go on.