Afghans in Greater Toronto area are shaking after the recent murder of two of their community members in Scarborough.
“We are all shocked by this news,” local entrepreneur and journalist Nasir Khalid told Toronto.com.
“Everyone is very sad. Everyone is very sad about what’s going on.”
Khalid, a well-known local leader in the GTA’s approximately 110,000 members of Afghan communities, manages the popular “Afghan Community in Toronto” Facebook group. Within the group, dozens of Afghans have expressed grief and prayed for 36-year-old Nabila Aminzadah from Toronto and 23-year-old Abdulmoaize Popal from Ajax.
Aminzadah died Friday, Nov. 12, after being found seriously injured in Scarborough’s Highland Creek neighborhood.
Shortly after kl. 3 that day, Toronto police were called to a house on Ellesmere Road, just east of Meadowvale Road. There, they found Aminzadah in a basement apartment with “trauma on her body.” She was rushed to hospital but succumbed to her injuries shortly afterwards. Aminzadah is Toronto’s 75th murder victim in 2021.
Carland Walker, 24, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He had a court appearance on November 12th.
Very little is known about Aminzadah, nor the circumstances that led to her tragic death.
Just four days later, on Tuesday 16 November, Popal was killed in a drive-by shooting in Scarborough’s Woburn area.
Shortly after 10 p.m. that day, police were called to a shooting in an apartment complex at 3945 Lawrence Ave. E., just east of Orton Park Road. There, officers found a non-responding man who had been shot and no one had vital signs.
Paramedics performed life-saving measures, but Popal was pronounced dead at the scene. He is Toronto’s 77th murder victim in 2021.
Investigators are looking for a light-colored SUV believed to be a Subaru that was reportedly seen fleeing.
Although Khalid did not know Aminzadah personally, he is a longtime friend of the Popal family and has known Abdulmoaize since he was just two or three years old.
“He was a very nice person, a very cool guy … He had lots of friends,” Khalid said, adding that the news of Popal’s death is “a shock” to everyone in his community.
Khalid said Popal, who was visiting a friend at the time of his murder, was “an innocent victim,” a person who was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“It’s very hard for his parents. They only had one son and one daughter,” he said, adding that Popal’s father, Abdullah, as well as his mother, Foruzan, are both well-known in Afghan society.
Hundreds of mourners gathered Friday, Nov. 19, at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto on Nugget Avenue for Popal’s funeral. A memorial later that day at the Scarboroughs Metropolitan Center gathered more than 500 people.
No details are available about a funeral for Aminzadah.
Anyone with information about these two unrelated homicides, including anyone with video footage, is encouraged to contact the Toronto Police Homicide Squad at 416-808-7400. Anonymous tips can be given through Crime Stoppers at 222tips.com or 416-222-8477 (TIPS).