Homicide victim was a 'joyful' football player, photographer

Family and friends of Tyson Ndongozi say the 20-year-old Burundian immigrant, shot dead on Sunday night, fell in love with Canada and went on to play high-level football.

Tyson Ndongozi, a Burundian immigrant, was shot dead Sunday night in Lowertown

Tyson Ndongozi, 20, played football and enjoyed photography. He was shot dead on Sunday night in Lowertown. (Facebook )

Family and friends of Tyson Ndongozi say the 20-year-old Burundian immigrant, shot dead on Sunday night, was an avid football player and photographer.

Ndongozi, whose full name was Loris Tyson Ndongozi Nkunzimana, was shot on Sunday in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood becoming the city's tenth homicide victim of 2021.

Police continue to look for suspects, who also shot another 20-year-old man. The second victim was taken to hospital in stable condition.

Ndongozi immigrated from Burundi with his family four years ago, according to his cousin Ghislain Kezabahizi.

When he arrived, Ndongozi fell in love with Canada and was heavily involved in the community through his main hobbies of photography and football. 

"[He was] joyful, always smiling," said Kezabahizi, who is also vice-president with the Alliance des Burundais du Canada

Kezabahizi said the whole community is in disbelief that he is gone, while Ndongozi's family remains in shock. 

"You're hoping for a better future for your children or even for yourself, and then this happens," he said.

"He gets shot just randomly like that. And as a parent, I don't think nobody wants to bury their child."

Watch: Cousin remembers homicide victim:

Family of Lowertown shooting victim came to Canada ‘hoping for a better future,’ cousin says

3 months ago
Ghislain Kezabahizi, whose cousin Loris Tyson Ndongozi Nkunzimana was killed in a shooting on Sunday, says the family came to Canada from Burundi four years ago hoping to find safety and security. 0:52

Dreams of football 

Ndongozi learned football in Canada, eventually playing along the offensive line with the North Gloucester Giants at the midget level. He was recently recruited to play at a top football program in Quebec at CEGEP Notre-Dame.

Carroll Tolmie, an offensive line coach at the University of Ottawa, coached him at several camps and remembers Ndongozi as a determined player. 

"He was always trying to learn. He was always trying to get better," he said.

"He was polite, [he] befriended a lot of players on the team, players at our camp enjoyed him being there, because he was always fun."

A vigil to remember Ndongozi was scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Jules Morin Park.

Watch: Mentor, coach remember Tyson Ndongozi:

Mentor, coach remember football player who was killed in shooting

3 months ago
Riki Duret, a former classmate, and Carroll Tolmie, University of Ottawa football coach, say 20-year-old Loris Tyson Ndongozi Nkunzimana had a passion for football and was always smiling. 0:51


Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.