Raouf Sanad, 63, owner of Laziza at 113 North Park Square next to The Strand Theatre, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, pointing a gun at another person and reckless conduct in the death of Wael Ali, which occurred Friday at about 10:52 p.m. at the Mediterranean restaurant.
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.
The gun belonged to Ali, said Officer David Baldwin, spokesman for the Marietta Police Department, who is a “very, very, very close family friend” and was showing Sanad a firearm in the kitchen of the
Ali was not an employee of Laziza.
Baldwin said Sanad was “careless” and pointed the gun toward Ali, who was hit in the front of his throat.
Ali was pronounced dead at the scene.
Baldwin said the bullet did not exit the victim’s body and no customers or employees were in danger.
He would not say what caliber of bullet was fired from the handgun.
Quick response from police
Two Marietta police officers were doing a routine patrol of the Square and were outside of the theater next door when they heard the gunshot. Baldwin said the officers rushed in, secured the scene and talked to witnesses who confirmed it was a “tragic accident.”
Jail records indicate Sanad lives in Alpharetta and remains in jail on a $20,000 bond.
Sanad is being held for the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
“More often than not it does mean they’re here illegally,” Col. Don Bartlett of the Cobb Sheriff’s Office said of the ICE hold. He said there can be other circumstances apart from entering the country illegally that pique ICE’s interest.
Hysteria on the Square
Christine Costello, a waitress at Willie Rae’s, was working at the restaurant that is a block west of Laziza Friday night and heard the commotion that followed the shooting.
“I was outside and about 10 cop cars pulled through at once,” Costello said.
A crowd soon gathered outside the restaurant while multiple emergency vehicles surrounded the Square.
“Girls are hysterically crying,” Costello said.
It’s “alarming,” she said, that a shooting — accidental or not — can take place anywhere, even in public.
David Reardon, owner of Shillings restaurant on the Square, said he has never seen a shooting take place on the Square in the more than 30 years that he has been in business.
Ali 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.
A mistrial was declared after 18 hours of unsuccessful jury deliberation, and though Ali remained the prime suspect in the case, 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.