Family of Lowertown shooting victim still seeking justice, 3 years later

It's been three years since 20-year-old Loris Tyson Ndongozi was the unintended target of a fatal shooting in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood, and those who knew and loved him are still seeking answers.

Ndongozi was playing pickup basketball on July 4, 2021, when a man came around searching for the friend he was on the court with.

When Ndongozi tried to intervene, he was shot dead, according to his father Jooris.

According to Ndongozi's father, Jooris, his son tried to intervene and was shot dead. The friend survived.

"Three years after, our family is still in pain," Jooris told CBC.

Shortly after Tyson's death, police issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for 26-year-old Haybe Farhan Aden of Ottawa.

The Ndongozi family says they've heard no updates from police on the warrant. Ottawa police told CBC they believe Aden — who is wanted on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder — remains at large in Canada.

Victim remembered as 'vibrant'

Those who knew Tyson remember him as a kind person who loved football and photography.

"He [had] a big, big, big heart," Jooris said.

Nicknamed "pancake" on the football field, Tyson played along the offensive line with the North Gloucester Giants at the midget level.

Shortly before his death, he had graduated Collège catholique Samuel-Genest and been recruited to play at a top football program in Quebec at CEGEP Notre-Dame.

While an arrest warrant has been issued for a 26-year-old suspect in Ndongozi's killing, no arrests have been made. (Submitted by Jooris Ndongozi)
While an arrest warrant has been issued for a 26-year-old suspect in Ndongozi's killing, no arrests have been made. (Submitted by Jooris Ndongozi)

"He was a very vibrant young boy," said Reuben Nashali, a youth worker in Ottawa who knew Tyson.

Tyson was always cracking jokes, trying to make others laugh, Hashali said. Even if his team was losing, he would try to get everyone's spirits up, Nashali said.

"He was a very positive person," he said.

Gun violence an ongoing concern

Tyson and his family immigrated to Ottawa from Burundi four years before his death, according to his father. They had fled violence in hopes that Ottawa would be safer.

"Can you imagine, you are a father or a mother?" Jooris said. "You arrived here. Four years after — they killed one of your kids."

Tyson Ndongozi was fatally shot on July 6, 2021.
Tyson Dream, an initiative that supports sports and civic engagement for youth, has been set up in the wake of Ndongozi's death in the hopes of ending youth-involved and gun violence in the city. (Submitted by Jooris Ndongozi)

Nashali said he is concerned about youth-involved violence becoming more commonplace in Ottawa. He said it feels as if he hears about a new shooting in the news every weekend.

In the last eight days, two men have been shot dead in Ottawa, and two others have been sent to hospital with gun-related injuries.

In 2023, nine of the 14 homicides in Ottawa that year were committed with a gun.

"It's pretty much a concern of the city falling into a habit of gun violence," Nashali said.

Community-based solutions

Jooris now runs Tyson Dream, an initiative that supports sports and civic engagement for youth, in hopes of ending youth-involved and gun violence in the city.

"It's to honour his memories, [and] also to help families," Jooris said.

Nashali said he believes groups like Tyson Dream are an important part of the solution.

"We can't arrest our way out of this problem," Nashali said. "Engaging the community and getting people involved will help a long way."

A memorial soccer game to remember Tyson Ndongozi is scheduled for July 13 at 11 a.m. at Immaculata High School.