A 25-year-old man was shot dead Friday night in the kitchen of the Laziza eatery at 113 North Park Square next to The Strand Theatre when his gun accidentally fired.
Raouf Sanad, 63, owner of the restaurant, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, pointing a gun at another person and reckless conduct in the death of Wael Ali, who owned the firearm and had been showing it to Sanad in the restaurant’s kitchen.
Sanad is accused of
pointing a black semi-automatic handgun at Ali and pulling the trigger, believing the safety was on, and killing Ali, according to the arrest warrant.
Ali was not an employee of the restaurant but was a close friend of Sanad’s.
Marietta Police Department spokesman David Baldwin couldn’t remember the last time a shooting took place on the Square.
“As far as an actual shooting right there on the Square, intentional or not, I can’t say if there ever was one,” Baldwin said.
Melissa Gault of east Cobb took to Glover Park in the center of the Square on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a scary situation, she said, but not one that she holds against the restaurant or the area.
“That could really happen to anyone,” Gault said.
Two police officers doing a normal patrol of the Square were standing outside of the Strand on Friday night and heard the gunshots. They responded immediately, Baldwin said.
Johnny Fulmer, who runs the weekend farmers market on the Square, praises Marietta police for their almost constant presence.
“It’s the best,” Fulmer said. “They’re here all the time.”
The shooting death is “most unusual,” Fulmer said, but is a “random happening.”
A weapon shouldn’t be in a public place, said Lavilla Walker, of Kennesaw, who was dining on Wednesday at an outdoor table at the Australian Bakery on the Square.
“Any time you have a weapon, you have the potential,” Walker said.
Georgia law allows firearms to be carried into restaurants provided the owner does not prohibit it.
Ali, who was killed in the incident, moved to metro Atlanta last year after being tried in Howard County, the Maryland county between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in the murder of his twin brother in 2007, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Ali remained the prime suspect in the case, though a mistrial was declared after 18 hours of unsuccessful jury deliberation and prosecutors said they would no longer pursue murder charges.
The body of Ali’s twin, 19-year-old Wasel Ali, was found on Aug. 27, 2007, in a wooded area of Columbia. He suffered a neck injury and died of asphyxiation after several minutes of pressure having been applied to his neck.