Young man shot dead in Sheffield 'was a voluntary worker and peacemaker'

Aseel Al-Essaie had a 'bright future' ahead of him, said a family friend
Aseel Al-Essaie had a 'bright future' ahead of him, said a family friend
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A young man gunned down in Sheffield was today praised for his voluntary work with local youths as hundreds gathered for his funeral.

Up to 1,200 people attended Al Rahman Mosque & Cultural Centre, in Pitsmoor, on Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to Aseel Al-Essaie.

Mourners knelt on the pavement outside in prayer as the mosque was full

Mourners knelt on the pavement outside in prayer as the mosque was full

Crowds stretched up the pavement, with mourners laying mats and pieces of cardboard on the tarmac so they could kneel in prayer outside the packed mosque in Gower Street.

Aseel was shot as he arrived for a family gathering in Daniel Hill, Upperthorpe, on February 18, to celebrate his twin sister's engagement. The 23-year-old former Tapton School pupil died in hospital later that day.

Mohsin Obaid, a family friend who attended the funeral, said Aseel had been a hugely popular young man, who had a winning smile and was always willing to help others.

"He was one of the nicest, sweetest boys you could hope to meet. He wasn't a violent man. He was a peacemaker," said Mohsin.

Aseel's coffin is carried into the mosque

Aseel's coffin is carried into the mosque

"He always had a smile. He had a bright future and he was just a child really, with his whole life in front of him.

"This is the biggest turnout there has ever been for a funeral here, which shows how popular he was."

Mr Obaid told how Aseel had volunteered at the mosque, which was built using money from his grandfather, to help local youths.

He said Aseel also helped run a family coffee shop near his home in Upperthorpe, which was named the Yafai Café after the village in Yemen where his ancestors came from.

Around 150 people were forced to gather outside on the pavement as the mosque was full

Around 150 people were forced to gather outside on the pavement as the mosque was full

Prayers rang out from the mosque as people of all ages gathered to bid Aseel a tearful farewell.

Aseel's body was taken to be buried in Tinsley following the service, which took place at 12.30pm.

Nine suspects have been arrested over his death, all of whom have been bailed pending further enquiries.

* Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Aseel's body is taken to be buried in Tinsley

Aseel's body is taken to be buried in Tinsley

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