WARMINGTON: Three friends of man gunned down in Mississauga eatery now face murder charges

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Home in handcuffs at Toronto Pearson Airport after a flight from Montreal, Anand Nath now faces the justice system for the shooting murder of Naim Akl and the attempted murders of his family and a staffer.

Nath, who turned himself into police in Montreal, landed on a Thursday-afternoon Air Canada flight escorted by Peel Regional Police homicide detectives.

The Mississauga man, 20, was the third suspect captured by detectives for their alleged roles in the heinous and terrifying May 29 ambush of the 25-year-old Akl, his mom, 44, his dad, 56, his brother, 22, his sister, 13, and a 58-year-old staffer at the popular takeout chicken place inside the Esso Plaza at the corner of Glen Erin Dr. and The Collegeway, which has been owned by the family for years.

Nath is facing a first-degree murder charge and five counts of attempted murder.


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Four of the victims were struck by bullets and are expected to survive, while the sister was not struck but allegedly had a bullet fired toward her. Also charged in this disturbing incident that shocked the Erin Mills community are Naqash Abbasi, 31, of Brampton, and Suliman Raza, 25, of Mississauga. Both accused were arrested by Peel cops earlier this week and likewise face charges of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder with a firearm.

Police have not commented on the case or potential motives.

However, friends of the accused say the narrative that Nath was the alleged shooter, Suliman the alleged getaway driver and, while not at the scene, Abbasi was allegedly involved, is not correct or realistic.


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“Innocent until proven guilty,” said Abbasi’s “cousin” Nofal Abbasi. “We know these guys and know for a fact they didn’t do anything.”


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Abbasi and three other friends were speaking at the TryAlinc import goods business connected to the warehouse office on Kimbel St. in Mississauga near the airport, where he said Naqash owned the business and the other two accused also worked.

The business’ social-media profile includes videos showing Abbasi and Nath explaining the products and services available.

The murder victim, Akl, also worked at this business at one time, said his friends at the warehouse Thursday.

Police executed a search warrant at the location this week, as illustrated by a boarded-up window that was knocked in to gain access, according to other tenants of the industrial park building.

Nofal clarified this is neither a mosque nor an Islamic Centre, but some neighbouring businesses may have been confused by seeing some Muslim employees praying.


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However, employee Braden Nguyen said he converted to Islam on those very premises just “20 or 30 minutes” before talking to the Sun.

Nguyen, Nofal Abbasi and two other employees, who did not provide their names, said Thursday they don’t believe this crime was committed by the accused trio.

“He was our friend. He was a Muslim as well. He was a convert. So none of this stuff adds up,” Nofal said of the slain Akl.

Nofal said Raza actually was the one who converted Akl to Islam “five or six” years ago and they were best friends.

None of the accused have had the charges against him tested in court and are innocent until proven guilty.

Suliman Raza, 25, and Naqash Abbasi, 31
Suliman Raza, 25, and Naqash Abbasi, 31

“Why would they do that to a brother?” asked Nofal.

Calling it all “false allegations” that are “all nonsense,” Nofal went further by saying this is Islamophobia in action.

It’s “all lies and accusations … this happens all the time —something happens with Muslims and right away they say the same thing,” he said.

The Akl family has not commented or released a photograph of Naim. Meanwhile, three former associates face first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of their son and attempted murder for gunshots.

But some close to the accused believe it is a misunderstanding that will eventually be sorted out.

“We will rely on Allah and we know Allah will get us out of this mess,” Nofal said.

— With files by Bryan Passifiume



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