‘He always put other people first’: Homicide victim remembered as caring father, friend

Filed under: English news,Wararka |
Tuesday May 29, 2018

Abdifatah Osman loved his family and his two children. And to some of his friends, he was like family. They called him “Upti.” Somali for uncle.

Those same friends, reflecting on the life of Osman on Monday, one day after he was shot and killed in his Greenboro-area neighbourhood, spoke of his kindness.

“He always put other people first and always looked out for the people around him. He loved his kids the most and all kids in general,” his longtime friend Mohamed Shire told this newspaper. “He (definitely) did not deserve to go this way.”

Osman, 31, was shot in the head in the backyard of a home off Patola Private, the culmination of a series of events that rapidly escalated, the gunfire piercing the Sunday night quiet of a neighbourhood that was left in shock on Monday morning.

Osman’s killing is the city’s 14th homicide of the year and his accused killer is at large, considered armed and dangerous and wanted by police on a Canada-wide warrant.

Police say Osman was killed at approximately 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

Moments before, an eyewitness told this newspaper, two women had been in a physical altercation. A man carrying a gun intervened, shooting one of the women in the abdomen, the witness said. The injured woman fled into her backyard and Osman reportedly followed her. It was there that the gunman allegedly fired a round of bullets, hitting Osman in the head.

The injured woman, 23, survived the attack and was in stable condition in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Osman had been on the street barbecuing when the altercation began, a man at the scene told this newspaper on Sunday. It’s unclear if Osman knew either of the women or the gunman.

The accused gunman is 34-year-old Tristan Campbell of Ottawa, police said Monday afternoon.

Police have asked anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts not to approach Campbell, and to call 911.

Campbell was sentenced in 2010 for forcible confinement, robbery and disguise with intent, and in 2012 for assault with a weapon and drug possession.

That the shooter who prompted police vehicles and snipers to descend on their neighbourhood less than a day ago remained at large was a worry on the minds of many Patola Private residents Monday.

“It’s just scary to be around here right now,” one woman told this newspaper Monday. “We’re all just talking to one another, make sure we lock the doors and stuff, because this person is out there.”

Another resident said she’s never seen anything like yesterday’s shooting in her nearly 10 years in the neighbourhood.

“We’ve had problems here and there, but nothing compared to what we went through last night.

“It’s definitely shaken us up.”

Both women declined to provide their names.

News of Osman’s death quickly reverberated to other parts of the country.

A friend that had known Osman for more than a decade, and who had lived in Calgary with him a few years ago, said Osman could “lighten the mood of anybody, regardless of what they may have been going through.”

The friend asked that his name not be used.

After meeting Osman 12 years ago, the older man became a big brother of sorts, the friend said.

“I just wish he could’ve stayed and brought his family out here,” the friend said. Osman moved back to Ottawa in 2015.

“Once you’ve gotten into trouble growing up it’s hard to leave that world and those people behind,” the friend said.

While the friend didn’t specify what kind of trouble Osman had faced, Osman did run afoul with Ottawa police when he was a young man.

He was convicted of aggravated assault and breach of probation in 2007.

Before returning to Ottawa, the friend said, Osman went to Kenya and Somalia to stay with family — a decision he believes helped Osman “get a better idea of what and who he wanted to be.”

“He would do anything in his power to help his friends and cared for all of our families like they were his.

Mohamud Barre, who said he grew up with Osman, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral expenses and for Osman’s two children. As of 8 p.m. Monday, $1,800 of the campaign’s $10,000 goal had been raised.

“RIP brother,” one donor wrote.

Meanwhile, police said the investigation into the shooting continues. Anyone with information is asked to call the Ottawa police major crime unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493.

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