Hundreds of people were shuffling in and out of Shakeel Ashraf’s home on Tuesday morning in Milton, Ont.
The 38-year-old father of two, husband and member of the Muslim community was shot and killed Monday afternoon at his auto body shop called MK Auto Repairs.
A neighbour who Global News is calling Emily for safety reasons witnessed the shooting unfolding.
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“I heard popping sounds and at first I thought it was just a muffler that they were working or one of their cars, I had never heard gunshots before,” the neighbour said.
Like many in Milton, Emily said she was familiar with Ashraf and was shocked at the incident taking place in their area. She added that her initial belief was that it was an irate customer, but quickly she realized that the situation was far more dire.
“I looked out the window and saw one of the employees running to the back of the shop and then I saw another employee running towards the front of the shop and the gunshots were still continuing and that’s when I clued in that it was definitely gunshots,” she said.
Since the incident, Emily said she’s struggled to cope with what she witnessed.
“The adrenaline is still pumping, I’ve barely slept, barely eaten, still in complete shock,” she told Global News.
A family member who was having lunch with Ashraf at the time of the shooting said Ashraf was going outside to check what the disturbance was — right before he was shot and killed.
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A family friend said he’s stunned by what happened.
“He was a person who was there for a community,” he said of Ashraf. “Everybody, every community, every friend is feeling very sad.”
Ashraf was the friend that always made room for others. An unnamed friend who played cricket with him, said that when he didn’t have a home, Ashraf opened his home up and encouraged him to stay with him. Despite no blood relationship, he called Ashraf a brother, and mentioned that the family, especially Ashraf’s two daughters and wife, have been taking it hard.
“His personality was very nice, humble, very friendly,” he said.
Syed Wasti, who has known Ashraf for the past 16 years since they began working together at a job in transportation in Mississauga, remembers him fondly.
“Everybody likes him, they love him, the thing that happened to him is pretty shocking for the whole community,” Wasti said, adding that Ashraf was a problem solver.
“They are disturbed by what happened, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” said Wasti of family members left behind.
Despite the violence in her neighbourhood, Emily said she’s seen the spirit of Milton rallying together and doesn’t believe violence is a serious issue in the township.
““We still have that small close-knit community feeling,” she said. “Milton is still extremely safe this stuff doesn’t happen here and I don’t foresee it being an issue in town.”
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