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Local bands hold benefit concert for victim of London convenience store assault

London police investigated at Horton Variety on Sunday morning. Oct. 22, 2017.
London police investigated at Horton Variety on Sunday morning. Oct. 22, 2017. Liny Lamberink/AM980

Two weeks after Rajae El Shorafa was attacked in his store on Horton Street, hundreds are expected to attend a benefit concert in his name.

Police were called to Horton Variety at 216 Horton Street the night of Saturday, Oct. 21 to reports of a disturbance. When they arrived they found 56-year-old El Shorafa. He was taken to hospital, where, at last word, he was still fighting for his life.

“We just kind of came to the conclusion that something needed to be done. I think it was Monday morning, I came up with the idea to reach out to a few bands, and maybe throw a show together,” said Jesse MacCabe, organizer of the event.

MacCabe and his band practice at City Centre storage, and often frequent El Shorafa’s store before and after practice. When they learned El Shorafa had been attacked, they knew they had to do something to help the shopkeep they lovingly refer to as Roger.

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“I first heard of it from a couple of our buddies who are actually in one of the bands that are performing [at the benefit tonight]. They were there that night when they were loading someone into an ambulance, and the next day, we come to find out that it was in fact Roger that was part of the incident,” said MacCabe.

READ MORE: Benefit concert planned for assaulted shopkeeper of Horton Variety corner store

The benefit concert will feature six local bands, including MacCabe’s own Traumahawk, Twin-Fin, DYER, Sparring Partner, Snacks? and Aaron Allen with Archie Gamble.

“I got the bands, I signed a date, I found a venue, and then I just had the idea of maybe doing a raffle,” said MacCabe.

“The response I got was overwhelming, it was incredible. Everyone was just more than willing to participate.”

“From there, people just stared seeking me out to offer their goods and services as well,” he said.

At least 30 raffle packages are up for grabs, including one for car repairs, and one from the Children’s Museum.

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“It started out as just reaching out to a few restaurants and maybe doing a dinner and a movie. [Now,] I’ve got everything from a silent auction for a $400 guitar, to Red Door Tattoo, they’ve offered up a $450 three-hour sit for a tattoo. I’ve got a St. Mary’s golf package that’s worth probably $500-$600.”

There will also be food and coffee provided by Shelby’s Food Express and Edgar and Joe’s Cafe.

The event is taking place at Friday at 8 p.m. at Call the Office. Tickets are $5 at the door. Additional donations are greatly appreciated.

If the music scene isn’t for you, MacCabe said not to worry. They have over 400 earplugs available so everyone will be able to enjoy the event and show their support.

According to the event’s Facebook Page, over 300 people are planning to attend, with nearly 1,000 showing their interest. MacCabe said the event has been shared via Facebook 680 times, and adds it’s gotten bigger than he could have ever imagined.

“We’re looking forward to it. It brought a lot of bands together that wouldn’t normally play together. [There will be] food, and the raffle, [and we’ll] raise some money for the family. I think it’ll be a good night,” he said.
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At last word, 56-year-old El Shorafa was still in hospital in critical condition.

While MacCabe has been in touch with the family, he said he’s tried to bother them as little as possible so they can have this time to themselves.

“I want them to know that we’re behind them, and honestly, [I want] to put a positive spin on a negative [situation].”

“To show people, especially this heinous person who did this absolutely unspeakable thing, that there’s people here that aren’t going to stand for that kind of [behaviour] in our environment,” he said.

A gofundme┬ápage created by Shelby’s Food Express, has also been set up for the shopkeeper and his family. As of Friday, Nov. 3, the page had surpassed its goal of $10,000.

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

Meanwhile, Police say 22-year-old Jessie Aaron McConnell, who is wanted on a charge of aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Oct. 21, is still at large.

They are warning McConnell should not be approached, and say if you see him, contact police.