'A great human being': Funeral held for Shakeel Ashraf, killed in Toronto-area shooting rampage

A funeral will be held Wednesday afternoon for a Milton, Ont., man killed at his auto shop during a string of shootings across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that also left a police officer dead.

Ashraf was a father of 2 young girls and a well-known business owner in Milton, Ont.

Shakeel Ashraf, 38, was the owner of MK Auto Repair in Milton, Ont. He was shot dead at his business on Monday afternoon. (Submitted by Junaid Butt)

An auto shop owner killed in a string of shootings this week was remembered as a doting father, a caring community member and a cricket fan on Wednesday as loved ones and strangers gathered to mourn him at his funeral.

Shakeel Ashraf was shot at his Milton, Ont., auto shop on Monday afternoon after a suspect shot and killed a Toronto police officer in Mississauga, Ont., earlier in the day. 

Those who knew Ashraf, and some who did not, packed a Mississauga mosque on Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects to the 38-year-old. 

"He was a very loving father, a very caring father, and he loved what he was doing. He loves cricket as well," Muhammad Umar, one of Ashraf's friends, said outside the mosque. 

"It is a big loss for us, losing a friend, and for the community, losing a great human being."

Waseem Ahmed, president of Islamic Propagation Centre of Ontario, where the funeral was being held, said Ashraf was well respected and noted that the man's family was devastated by what he called a "senseless act" of violence.

"They're getting to absorb this, looking at the family member for the first time after the incident happened," Ahmed said after Ashraf's casket, draped in green fabric, arrived at the mosque.

He called on politicians to address root causes of violence in communities.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie was at the funeral and said she wanted to grieve with the community.

"I am so devastated by the turn of events that started here in Mississauga," she said, noting that Ashraf used to live in the city. "Today we're here to mourn a great man from our community and pay our respect."

The suspect in Monday's attacks died later that day after a shooting with police at a cemetery in Hamilton.

Faizal Niaz, one of Ashraf's friends, said the suspect is believed to have worked for Ashraf for a short period of time earlier this year but was let go. 

Niaz said many who knew Ashraf had questions about how the suspect had been able to evade police after killing an officer in Mississauga before making it to the auto shop in Milton. 

"Our friend died," he said. "Who's gonna (be) responsible?" 

Const. Andrew Hong was a police officer in Toronto for 22 years. (Toronto Police Service handout)

Const. Andrew Hong was shot dead in Mississauga in what police have called an ambush.

Toronto police spokeswoman Stephanie Sayer said a book of condolences for Hong will be available to the public in person and online. Sayer said planning for Hong's funeral is currently underway and that the force is working closely with his family regarding their wishes.

Hong was a 22-year veteran of the Toronto police force, having spent the past 19 years with traffic services where he worked with a highly specialized motorcycle unit that provides security escorts for dignitaries like prime ministers and residents.