As bullets tore through an auto shop in Milton, Ont., on Monday, Muhammad Shiraz Afzal was confident he would not make it out alive.
With the crackle of gunfire echoing through the room around him at MK Auto Repairs, all he could do was keep his head down on a desk.
“I was just waiting to die,” he told CBC News during an interview at the store, located about 50 kilometers west of Toronto.
Afzal was one of three people shot dead in the auto shop around 2:50 p.m. that afternoon. Company owner Shakeel Ashraf, 38, was killed, while a 28-year-old international student who also worked there remains on life support and is not expected to survive.
It’s above the Toronto Police Const. Andrew Hong, 48, who was fatally shot about half an hour earlier in Mississauga, as well as a carjacking victim who is in stable condition in hospital but suffered “changing” injuries. his life,” police said.
Investigators have identified Sean Petrie, 40, as the suspect in all of the shootings. Petrie himself was later killed in an encounter with police at a Hamilton cemetery.
WATCH | Afzal describes the attack:
Afzal said he was dealing with a customer at the store’s reception when he started hearing noises coming from behind. At first he thought these were normal sounds you might hear in an auto shop, like hammering or welding.
But as the noises got closer, he realized someone was firing a gun.
Victim of a bullet in the leg
“This guy came right in front of me,” he said, pointing to a spot in the store, “and yelled at me and started shooting.”
“The first fire was this one, which went through my leg,” he said, pointing to a bullet hole in the office.
The man then fired another shot which nearly hit his head but missed, leaving a bullet hole on the other side of the desk.
“Then the third shot he did again, he tried my head – which hit this guy,” he said, referring to the 28-year-old international student.
There was no way out – until he heard the “click click click” of the gunner’s empty magazine.
“Then I got up and started running outside,” Afzal said. As soon as he walked out, he asked another person in the store about his boss, but was told that Achraf was unlikely to survive.
“He was a great person, a great boss, a great brother,” Afzal said. “Very caring, very kind.”
The police are trying to piece together the motive
Officials provided more details Thursday about the series of shootings that unfolded over several hours on Monday afternoon and called on the public to get information about the shooter.
Petrie had a long criminal history that included convictions for assault, armed robbery and other violent offenses, according to police. In 2007, he was placed on a national registry as a person with a high likelihood of reoffending in connection with an incident two years earlier.
He was estranged from his family, police say, and was briefly employed in the car shop owned by Ashraf.
Petrie allegedly used a handgun in the shooting, which is now in the possession of Ontario police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, as part of its investigation into his fatal encounter with police in Hamilton.
Investigators say they are still trying to piece together a clear motive for the shootings.