Marwan Arab killed, cousin injured in Ottawa restaurant shooting

Marwan Arab, 20, was shot dead in a west Ottawa restaurant on Sunday evening two years after coming to Canada to escape violence in his native Libya, his family told CBC News on Monday.

Cousin Ayyub Arab, 22, in stable condition after being shot in chest at Shifa Restaurant

Marwan Arab (left) was shot dead and his cousin Ayyub Arab (right) survived being shot at Shifa Restaurant in Pinecrest on Sunday evening. (provided)

Marwan Arab, 20, was shot dead in a west Ottawa restaurant on Sunday evening two years after coming to Canada to escape violence in his native Libya, his family told CBC News on Monday.

His 22-year-old cousin, Ayyub Arab, remains in hospital after being shot in the chest at the same Cobden Road restaurant. Police said his condition is now stable.

"We're trying to hold ourselves together and trying to be tough but it's hard," said Tasnim Arab, who is a cousin to both men.

Police were called to Shifa Restaurant at a strip mall in Pinecrest around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

"Major crime investigators have determined that this is not a random shooting; however, it has yet to be determined if it is gang related," police said in a news release.

Police do not have a description of a suspect. No arrests have been made.

Family members said they can't imagine a motive for the shooting.

"Whoever did this should put themselves into our shoes. Should feel what we feel," Tasnim Arab said.

'I thought Canada would be safer'

Ayyub Arab's sister told CBC News her brother's friends showed up at her home in tears last night to break the news.

Ayyub Arab (left) and Marwan Arab (right) were shot at Shifa Restaurant in Ottawa on Jan. 31. (courtesy of Arab family)
"I didn't believe it at first," said 16-year-old Alla Arab. "I didn't think my brother would be shot at a restaurant. I thought Canada would be safer. Marwan was sent here because his parents didn't want him to get shot — be killed in Libya. But it was the same thing that happened here."

Doctors at the hospital said her brother, who was shot three times, was "one hair close to dying," she said.

"It was very hard to take in. Especially him knowing that Marwan had passed away. Marwan was, like, his best friend, his cousin, brother. He would spend every single hour with him," she said.

​Marwan Arab was studying English as a second language in Ottawa, his family members said.

His parents are still in Libya and are distraught over his death, said Amuh Arab, who is a cousin to both men.

"(His mother) has been asking us, 'How was his last day? What was he doing? What was he eating? How was he?' It's heartbreaking just to hear her voice," she said.

One of Marwan Arab's four roommates, who asked not to be named, described him as a "down to earth, quiet guy." 

Men shot in 'family' restaurant

The scene inside Shifa Restaurant the day after a fatal shooting. (Judy Trinh/CBC)

Farah Aw-Osman, the head of the Ottawa-based Canadian Friends of Somalia, said the couple that owns "family-owned, family-run" Shifa Restaurant are part of his community.

"I am sure they are in shock and dismay for what happened in this restaurant," he said.

"An act like this is something that we cannot tolerate."

This is the city's sixth shooting and second homicide of 2016.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.