'It's devastating.' NC parents trying to cope after son stabbed to death by a Raleigh store owner

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Family of man fatally stabbed at Raleigh store says loss 'devastating'
"It's insane to think that someone should lose their life over anything in a convenience store."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The family of a man stabbed to death outside Taz's convenience store in downtown Raleigh last week is planning for his funeral.

It was 3 o'clock in the morning on April 7 when Mark Garrity Sr. and his wife, Amy, received a phone call from police.

"That is the one phone call I wish no one ever has to take," said Mark Garrity. On the other line was a member of the Holly Springs Police Department to alert Garrity and his wife that their son, 27-year-old Mark Garrity Jr., had been stabbed to death Thursday afternoon.

"It's devastating," Garrity said.

Garrity Jr. was the pair's oldest son.

"I told him that I loved him. And that was it," said Amy Garrity, recalling her last conversation with her son just two days before his death.

She said she met with her son to give him an Easter basket full of goodies. She didn't know that would be the last time she saw him.

Garrity Jr. was stabbed to death by Taiseer Zarka, owner of Taz's Fantaztic Convenience Store in downtown Raleigh on Wilmington Street.

According to a store employee, Zarka accused Garrity of shoplifting. The employee said when Garrity allegedly refused to open his bag for Zarka, the two became involved in a physical altercation inside the store. Garrity was stabbed multiple times during the altercation and taken to WakeMed where he later died.

"I can't imagine that day on Wilmington Street. Broad daylight. Families down there. Children saw this," said Amy Garrity. "I mean, if Mark did something, you call 911."

Raleigh Police were called and when they arrived, they questioned Zarka. However, he was not arrested.

As of Wednesday evening, Zarka had yet to face any charges. Raleigh Police told ABC11 they were still in the process of reviewing footage and investigating if self-defense was applicable.

"Mr. Zarka was questioned in relation to this incident. Whether this incident was related to self-defense is part of the ongoing investigation," RPD said.

"WakeMed told us this was a violent act," Amy Garrity said. "And the only thing I can think of is this is just pure evil."

Sitting beside his wife, Garrity Sr. added: "'It's insane to think that someone should lose their life over anything in a convenience store."

The family has made "Justice for Mark" wristbands to serve as a small memory as the parents plan the funeral for their firstborn son.

"He really was a big kid at heart. And if he only knew. And I know he knows," said Amy Garrity. "I know he's with us. He really was a kind soul. And it's just indescribable."

"No parent should ever have to go through this pain," Mark Garrity Sr. added.

The pair plan to hold a funeral for their son at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the family's church in Wake Forest.

Crime Data: ABC11 Neighborhood Safety Tracker