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Victim recalls being wounded in the head at fatal Mississauga restaurant shooting

Rohullah Rawi was in the midst of refilling barbecue sauce bottles at a Mississauga restaurant three years ago when a bullet grazed the right side of his head, jurors heard Thursday as the trial of three men charged in connection with that fatal shooting continues.

Rawi, who worked as a delivery driver at Chicken Land on May 29, 2021, testified in Superior Court in Brampton that he was helping the family who owned the business at Glen Erin Drive and the Collegeway in Mississauga with kitchen jobs that night as it was a busy shift.

Then violence erupted, leaving Naim Akl, 25, dead. Akl’s mother, father and brother, and Rawi were also shot.

Rawi testified that he turned around at the restaurant’s prepping area when a man shot him and he dropped to the ground, unconscious. 

“When I opened my eyes I saw Naim’s mother saying, ‘What happened to my son?'” he said.

“I was trying to answer but I fell back again.”

Crown prosecutors allege the shooting was planned by three men — Anand Nath, Suliman Raza and Naqash Abbasi. All three have pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

A photo of Naim Akl in a suit with a smile on his face.
Naim Akl, 25, was killed in a shooting at Chicken Land, on Glen Erin Drive and the Collegeway in Mississauga, on May 29, 2021. (Facebook/Canadian Druze Society)

Nath, from Mississauga, is accused of carrying out the shooting, while Raza, also from Mississauga, was the alleged getaway driver. Abbasi, from Brampton, was the alleged organizer, according to the Crown.

Prosecutors allege the men operated a business called TryALinc, and were buying and selling Amazon products out of a Mississauga warehouse. Crown prosecutor David D’Iorio told the jury in his opening statement that the three accused had allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS, and had been sending the organization money.

Rawi told the court the Akl family, who had been running the restaurant for nearly 30 years at the time of the shooting, were his neighbours and friends. He had started working there in 2013 as a delivery driver.

A man who said he went to Montreal with Nath in the days after the shooting is also testifying in court Thursday. 

Noah Rabbani said he was 18 years old at the time, and learned about what happened when he was with Nath, the alleged shooter, at a Montreal Airbnb.

He testified that he wanted to leave the “not at all fancy” apartment when he realized there was a Canada-wide arrest warrant for his companion. 

The trial continues Thursday afternoon.

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