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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:
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: