When Junaid Butt snapped a photo of his friend and fellow cricket team member last fall, he had no idea it would be the picture Shakeel Ashraf would be remembered by when he would be shot dead a year later.
Now it’s that very photo — of Ashraf smiling on the field, the sun shining on his face — making the rounds in social media tributes after the beloved auto body shop owner and father of two was killed in an apparent shooting rampage west of Toronto on Monday.
“It’s not something you would even imagine happening,” Butt told CBC Toronto in the hours following Ashraf’s death.
The rampage, which also took the life of 48-year-old Toronto police officer Const. Andrew Hong, left three others hurt and ended with the suspect dead after police tracked him down at a cemetery in Hamilton, Ont.
Ashraf, 38, was the well-known owner of Milton auto repair shop MK Auto Repairs, where flowers could be seen laid outside following the shooting.
In a news release Tuesday, police said they were called to the shop around 2:50 p.m. Monday. Ashraf died at the scene, they said, while two other victims were taken to hospital. The two injured people remain in critical and serious conditions, and are not being identified at this time, the release said.
Calling him a “lovely guy” and “very hard worker,” Butt recalled Ashraf always making jokes with customers and making everyone around him feel welcome.
The day that Butt took Ashraf’s photo was the day their cricket team won a championship, he said. After the group photo, Butt told each team member to pose with the cup for an individual photo.
Ashraf was thrilled at how the picture came out, he recalled.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Butt. Now, that team is “heartbroken” from the loss of their teammate.
In the moments after he heard Ashraf had been shot, Butt says he called the shop to confirm. Fifteen minutes later, he says, he learned Ashraf had been killed.
“It’s frightening,” said Butt. “It definitely scares you pretty deep.”
In a statement online, the Islamic Community Centre of Milton said, “Today we lost a brave son of the community from this earthly plane.”
The statement called on the community to bear Ashraf’s loss with patience and to avoid speculations on the motive until more details emerge.
“Please keep the families in your duas (prayers),” it said.
This content was originally published here.