Shakeel Ashraf was ‘everybody’s mechanic.’ Milton rampage victim remembered as dedicated father who loved cricket
Described as a dedicated family man, good community worker and lover of cricket, Shakeel Ashraf is being remembered in the Milton community where he was fatally shot in a GTA shooting rampage on Monday.
Ashraf, 39, was killed at the workplace he owned Monday afternoon by the same gunman who earlier killed Toronto police Const. Andrew Hong in a rampage that saw five people shot before the gunman was himself killed by police.
Ashraf’s second cousin, Arslan Hanif, said he left behind a loving wife, who was a homemaker and two little girls.
“His family is in shock and not willing to accept this tragic news,” Hanif said.
Ashraf, who was of Pakistani origin, immigrated with his family 25 years ago, opening two MK Auto Repairs locations in Milton, employing over 15 workers. He recently bought a new autobody shop on Steeles Avenue and had printed out new business cards.
“He was very good with his workers,” Hanif said, adding that his cousin set out to make the world a better place by contributing to various causes to help those in need. “Even the day he was shot he was out to get lunch for his workers,” Hanif said.
“It’s a big loss for the community.”
According to Arslan Hanif, a relative of Ashraf, the shooter was a former employee of the MK Auto Repairs, the scene of the second shooting on Monday, but details about the gunman have not yet been released by the police. Hanif said the shooter arrived at the autobody shop when Ashraf wasn’t initially there, after he’d gone out to get lunch for his staff.
Two others were injured in the triple shooting. Those victims have not been identified; police have described them as suffering life-threatening injuries.
Sameera Ali, a local Milton councillor, described Ashraf as a beloved community member, skilled cricket player and devoted family man and father.
“He was everybody’s mechanic,” Ali said. “He would help whenever he could, whoever he could.”
Humaira Khan, a client of Ashraf’s, said the news was a massive shock to the tight-knit community.
“It’s hardest for the children because they’re very young, the girls,” Khan said, adding that the family has asked for people to respect their privacy during this time.
His family would often attend and support his cricket matches — he was a member of the MSA Qalandars cricket team of the Event Ontario Softball Cricket League.
Naeem Khiyani, who manages the cricket organization, said Ashraf played on the team for six years and was a good sportsman. “He was kind-hearted, very jolly, and had a good sense of humor,” he added.
Many of the players on the cricket team would also get their cars repaired at his auto repair business.
Fellow cricket league player and friend, Hammand Jawaid, said Ashraf was a “very humble person” and was well-liked on and off the field.
“He was respected and such a big figure in the local community. His family would come and cheer him on at games … he was just a good community worker.”
Jawaid heard the news of the shooting on the cricket league’s WhatsApp group and said everyone was in shock after hearing the news, still trying to process what happened.
Const. Andrew Hong was “a husband, a father and a son,” a visibly emotional Toronto police chief James Ramer said late Monday, his voice shaking over the death of an officer colleagues described as a “gentle giant.” (Peel Regional Police/Facebook)
The Muslim Association of Milton said in a statement“We lost a brave son, a loving husband, a caring father and an active member of the Milton community.”
The association is in touch with the family to see if there are ways the community can donate or create a public fundraiser, but are asking people to be patient until further direction is provided and approved by Ashraf’s family members.
Const. Hong was shot earlier dead while taking a lunch break at a Tim Hortons in Mississauga in what police are calling an unprovoked “ambush” marking the beginning of a shooting rampage across three cities before the suspect was gunned down by police in Hamilton cemetery.
Police and the Ontario Special Investigations Unit are investigating the two shootings and their aftermath.
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