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Police looking for 22-year-old suspect, after convenience store assault

London police block off the Horton Variety store, as part of their investigations on Sunday Oct. 22, 2017.
London police block off the Horton Variety store, as part of their investigations on Sunday Oct. 22, 2017. Liny Lamberink/AM980

A convenience store owner who remains in hospital Monday, after an assault outside his Horton Street shop over the weekend put him in critical condition, is being described as having a “fatherly” personality.

London Police say 22-year-old Jessie Aaron McConnell is wanted on a charge of aggravated assault, as part of an ongoing investigation that had the 216 Horton Street East variety store blocked off with caution tape for much of the weekend.

22-year-old Jessie Aaron McConnell of London is wanted for aggravated assault, after an incident outside a Horton St. convenience store put a man in critical condition.
22-year-old Jessie Aaron McConnell of London is wanted for aggravated assault, after an incident outside a Horton St. convenience store put a man in critical condition. London Police Service

READ MORE: Disturbance on Horton Street leaves man in critical condition

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The victim of the weekend assault is 56-year-old Rajaie El Shorafa.

“He’s the guy who will tell us ‘hey you forgot to turn on the open sign,'” Yasser Ali told AM980. He’s the general manager of Shelby’s Food Express, a middle eastern restaurant directly across the street.

“Every day I need to go get change for my till, he has the change ready for me,” said Ali.

“He basically takes care of us.”

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Ali sees El Shorafa every day and says the neighbouring business owner works seven days a week from morning until night.

He also knows the man to have a family and several young children.

“I’m very shocked and disappointed… he’s just there to earn a living, and something like this, unfortunately, has to happen. It’s not the first time something like this has happened to him, just not this serious.”

El Shorafa will be undergoing operations in hospital to treat a head injury,  Ali learned through one of the victim’s family friends.

“Maybe when he fell on the floor, his head hit the concrete? So from what I heard, there’s something in his brain right now the doctors have to operate on. He’s in the ICU right now and he has to go for this surgery. So he keeps waking up and passing out, and waking up and passing out.”

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Although police aren’t disclosing details about the injury, or the man’s identity, they’ve confirmed he’s still in hospital in critical condition.

They’re also asking anybody who sees Jessie Aaron McConnell not to approach him, but to contact police.

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As the manager of a business in the same area, Ali says the incident hits close to home.

“We’re taking more precautions now. Nobody leaves at night without somebody,” he said.

These are new steps the staff at Shelby’s Food Express are taking, as a direct result of the assault over the weekend.

“At night time, you never know if it’s safe or not. But you’d better be safe than sorry.”

Ali has set up a GoFundMe page to make up for lost income, and whatever medical expenses the victim might rack up in hospital.

“He looks at us like we’re his own children.. and we’d like to give back to him, the way he gives to us.”