Despite struggling to walk and being in extreme pain, Muhammad Shiraz Afzal attended a vigil in Milton on Wednesday evening for his boss, who was fatally shot during the shooting rampage earlier this week.
Afzal remembered Shakeel Ashraf, the owner of MK Auto Body Repairs, as more than his employer. He said Ashraf had become a good friend and considered him as a brother.
“He was everything to me,” Afzal told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday at the Islamic Community Centre of Milton, where hundreds gathered to mourn his 38-year-old boss, who was loving a husband and a father of two young daughters. The vigil was held hours after Ashraf’s funeral in Mississauga.
Afzal and Ashraf were among the three people shot by a 40-year-old male suspect in Milton during Monday afternoon’s rampage, which began in Mississauga.
Afzal survived. His boss died at the scene.
Two days after the incident, the 42-year-old Afzal recounted what happened that day. He said he was with a customer when he heard noises at the back of the shop. Afzal remembered thinking it was probably coming from one of their machines.
But he soon realized the noises were “unusual” as they were getting closer. When he got up to see what was happening, Afzal said he saw a man come to the front of the shop and begin firing at him.
“His first target was my head. He missed my head,” Afzal said. The suspect fired again, this time aiming at his body. He said the bullet ricocheted off a chair striking his leg.
“The third shot, he missed. That went right in front of my face,” Afzal remembered. He next heard clicking sounds. The suspect had run out of bullets, he realized.
“When I heard that noise from the gun – ‘click, click,’ then I realized that it’s time to run now,” Afzal said. “Then I ran away.”
After getting away from the shop, Afzal said he thought his boss Ashraf would too.
“I was still expecting my boss to be alive,” he said, adding that he wanted to return to the shop and help him get out. But, police arrived shortly, and he was not allowed to go back.
Afzal said he knew the suspect. He said he worked with him for a week three months before the shooting.
“He was very nice. He was very good at work. There were no arguments between us,” he said. However, after a week, Afzal said the man just disappeared.
He added that his boss tried calling the man, but he did not answer.
Afzal said he did not expect something like this to happen.
“Physically, I’m in extreme pain. The bullet went through my leg. And emotionally, you know, I have lost my boss,” he said.
On Wednesday, Halton police said the third victim in the Milton shooting is still in hospital. Their condition is not immediately known.
Peel police, who are coordinating the investigation into the multijurisdictional shootings, are expected to provide an update on Thursday morning.
Before the shooting in the Milton auto shop, the suspect fatally shot Toronto police Const. Andrew Hong inside a Tim Hortons in Mississauga earlier that afternoon. A second victim was also shot before the suspect fled in a stolen vehicle.
The rampage ended in Hamilton, where police shot and killed the 40-year-old during an interaction. The circumstances surrounding that incident are now being probed by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
The agency said on Wednesday that the family of the suspect did not permit the release of his identity. However, sources with the Canadian Press identified him as Sean Petrie, who, according to parole board documents, had an extensive criminal record, including robbery, drug trafficking and weapon possession.
– with files from CTV Toronto’s Beth Macdonell and The Canadian Press