Family and friends of a Hamilton man killed Saturday called him "a hero" as they gathered to honour him at his funeral Monday night.

Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot and killed in Hamilton's central lower city while trying to defend an older man from two suspects trying to accost him, police say.

"He did something I would not have done," said community member Bashar Mohammed outside the Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre moments before Al-Hasnawi's funeral began.

"He is a hero to us all," he said.

Family and friends prayed over Al-Hasnawi's body but even those who never met him came out to remember the 19-year-old.


Community members drop off bouquets of flowers to honour Yosif Al-Hasnawi. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

A handful of bouquets was dropped off at the centre by a family who didn't know the Brock University student but wanted to honour him.

Al-Hasnawi was the eldest of five siblings. His family migrated to Canada from Iraq in 2008. 

Det. Sgt. Steve Bereziuk with Hamilton police previously described Al-Hasnawi as an athlete who boxed, ran and played basketball. 

"He was being that Good Samaritan," the detective said. 

"I could not believe it when they told me he had been killed," Ipo Mahammed-Ali, another community member, told reporters Monday night. "They are killing children in streets," she said.

Hamilton police have arrested one suspect in the death of Al-Hasnawi, and are searching for a second man they say is armed and dangerous.

Witnesses who were with Al-Hasnawi at the time of the incident have criticized the paramedics' response, saying that they told him he was "overreacting" and tried to make him stand after he was shot.

Hamilton Paramedic Services and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are investigating.