Hamilton

Defence says Dale King saw Yosif Al-Hasnawi as an aggressor before he shot him

Ahmed Al-Hasnawi says his big brother was fast, strong and angry as he ran after his assailants, moments before he was shot in the abdomen and collapsed on the sidewalk, and died in hospital an hour later.

King faces a second-degree murder charge in what's being called the 'Good Samaritan' case

Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot and killed in Hamilton on Dec. 2, 2017. (Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre)

Ahmed Al-Hasnawi says his big brother was fast, strong and angry as he ran after his assailants, moments before he was shot in the abdomen and collapsed on the sidewalk, and died in hospital an hour later.

Yosif Al-Hasnawi was standing outside a Main Street East mosque on the evening of Dec. 2, 2017, 15-year-old Ahmed said in court Thursday. He was a Crown witness in the jury trial of Dale Burningsky King, 20, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Al-Hasnawi, 19, had just finished reading from the Qur'an during a religious ceremony. The two Al-Hasnawi brothers and two friends, twin brothers Mustafa and Haider Ameer, were chatting outside the mosque. They were "just chilling," Haider Ameer testified in superior court at Hamilton's John Sopinka Courthouse.

That's when they saw two people, who Ahmed described on the stand as "bald guy" and "ponytail guy," and "swearing at this old man." The defence later identified those two as James Matheson and Dale King.

The old man, Ahmed testified, was saying "hey, leave me alone." Al-Hasnawi called out for them to stop, Ahmed said, and Matheson and King crossed the street to approach them.

Ahmed said the "ponytail guy" held a silver gun at his side, and said "I'm not trying to do anything tonight."

Ameer, now 17, recalled Al-Hasnawi saying, "Do you think I'm scared of you because you have a gun?" The bald guy punched Al-Hasnawi, Ahmed said, and that made his older brother angry.

"Ponytail guy" ran away first, Ahmed said, followed by the bald guy. Al-Hasnawi was faster, though. He caught up to the bald guy, Ahmed said, and nearly grabbed his hoodie. The bald guy said to his friend "he's gaining on me," Ahmed said in his testimony.

King's lawyer Jonathan Shime pointed out that during the preliminary inquiry, Ahmed also said the bald guy said, "This guy's fast, man."

Shime, on cross-examination, suggested Al-Hasnawi was the aggressor, and King was trying to run away.

As they ran, "(King) may have put the gun away, figuring the whole thing's over," Shime said. King nodded in the prisoner's box behind him.

The Crown also called Mustafa Ameer, 17, who helped Al-Hasnawi after he was shot.

Ameer said he was running behind Ahmed Al-Hasnawi, who was in turn running after his brother. When the bullet hit Al-Hasnawi, Ameer said he caught him from behind and helped him to the sidewalk.

"Is this how I'm going to end?" Al-Hasnawi said to Ameer.

Ameer said he stayed with his friend until a police officer called him away to answer questions.

Shime and his co-counsel, Owen Goddard, also mentioned twice that an autopsy revealed Al-Hasnawi had "meth" in his system, although the details won't be revealed until expert testimony next week.

Shime also suggested the slow response of Hamilton paramedics, who Ahmed said didn't take his brother's injury seriously, was more responsible for the death than King. King fired once as he ran away from Al-Hasnawi.

"They treated your brother like garbage, didn't they?" Schime said of the paramedics.

"Yes," Ahmed replied.

"They treated him worse than an animal."

"Yes."

"They were making fun of him when he was on the ground."

"Yes."

"Someone said he should win an Oscar for his acting, right?"

"Yes."

"They stayed on scene for a really long time, didn't they?" Shime said.

"Yes," Ahmed agreed.

Ameer described a similar scene. "I'm tired," he recalled Al-Hasnawi saying as he laid on the sidewalk.

The month-long trial continues Friday with more witness testimony.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca