Citizens of Owen Sound, Ont. lined the city's streets Sunday to pay their respects to Sharif Rahman, a restaurant owner and community volunteer who died in hospital after being beaten outside his business in what police say was a dispute over an unpaid bill.
Rahman, 44, died Thursday and his funeral was held Sunday. According to Owen Sound police, he was attacked by three male patrons who visited his restaurant, The Curry House, in the heart of the city on Aug. 17. His death is now considered a homicide, police said Friday. Investigators are still searching for three white male suspects.
Among those standing in the show of solidarity was Martha Tettenborn, who said she and her husband first learned of Rahman when reading about the charity work he was involved with.
"The generosity of this man was part of what made us say, 'Oh, we need to go check out this restaurant and we have to support this business'," Tettenborn said.
People showed support for Sharif Rahman's family in the days following his assault, and later his death, with flowers and messages on his storefront. (Michelle Both/ CBC News)
Rahman was active throughout the community he came to call home after being born in Bangladesh, sitting on city committees and being involved with the local YMCA, according to Tettenborn.
Rahman remembered for community involvement
She said more than 800 people attended a quiet vigil for Rahman earlier in the week.
Vajahat Banday had know Rahman for years, who he said initially struggled to make his business profitable.
"Finally when he started establishing his business … and he started to make a living in Canada and then this suddenly happens," Banday said.
Ian Boddy, the mayor of Owen Sound, said Sharif Rahman (pictured) was a gentle, kind and loving person. (Alysha Brilla/Facebook)
Ian Boddy, the mayor of Owen Sound, said Rahman was a gentle, kind and loving person.
He said Rahman would cook food to help raise money for different causes.
"[He was] very, very active in the community. But quietly, he's not a guy that drew a lot of attention to himself, very much a family man," Boddy said.
A GoFundMe campaign created for Rahman's family has so far raised around $250,000, it's original goal was $25,000.
Police looking for suspects
On Thursday, police released images of two suspects and a vehicle — they were seen leaving the scene of the incident on Aug. 17. The suspects ran southbound on 2nd Avenue East towards 9th Street, where they continued eastbound on 9th Street East, police said.
Community members lined the streets Sunday to pay their final respects to Sharif Rahman. (John Lesavage/CBC)
The two suspects are believed to be in their mid-20s to mid-30s, police said.
They described the first suspect as:
White, between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, with a medium build and short, dark hair. He was wearing a light blue T-shirt, black shorts and black running shoes at the time of the attack.
The second suspect is described as:
White, between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, with a medium build and short, brown hair that's longer on the top. He was wearing an orange T-shirt, black shorts and black running shoes.
The third suspect is described as:
White, with curly hair, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and likely in his late 40s to mid-50s.
Police said the vehicle in question appears grey or blue, and is an early 2000s model Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute.
Police said Thursday this vehicle was seen leaving the scene of the assault that took place in front The Curry House in downtown Owen Sound, Ont., on Aug. 17. (Owen Sound Police Service)