Australia

'A good friend to many': Darwin mourns shooting victim Hassan Baydoun

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The first victim of the Darwin mass shooting has been identified as 33-year-old Hassan Baydoun.

Darwin's Muslim community is mourning the death of Hassan Baydoun, one of four men shot dead in Tuesday's violent and apparently random rampage.

"He was known as a humble guy, he was very gentle … He was a good friend to many," secretary of the Islamic Society of Darwin, Robi Islam, told SBS News on Wednesday.

"We will miss him a lot."

Robi Islam talks to SBS News.
Robi Islam talks to SBS News.
SBS News

The PhD student and taxi driver had been driving his taxi but returned home to his studio apartment in McMinn St on Tuesday evening for a meal break.

In what appears to be a tragic case of bad timing, he was there at the time the gunman was going from room to room inside the building, firing his shotgun and shouting the name of a man - 'Alex' - according to witnesses.

"He was going to get his meal after breaking his fast, and when he came out from the motel where he was staying, this man came and shot him dead," Mr Islam said.

Mr Baydoun, 33, moved to Darwin from Lebanon 10 years ago, his cousin and fellow Darwin resident Abdallah Salman said.

Hassan Baydoun
Hassan Baydoun was killed ion a shooting in Darwin.
Facebook

He had completed a bachelors as well as a master’s degree in IT and was taking a break before starting his PhD.

"He was a lovely person, he had a good heart. He was a very easy going person who was always smiling, a very happy person who didn't have any enemies and his friends loved him," Mr Salman said.

"As we know now he was accidentally caught up in this, I have no idea but it looks like it was a random shooting.

"I don't think he knows the guy or anything. The guy was looking for someone called 'Alex' and he just got the wrong people."

Mr Islam said, "it's absolutely shocking. In Darwin we live in peace and harmony regardless of religion, regardless of faith or colour … Nobody can believe this would happen in Darwin".

AAP
A still of the arrest.
AAP Image/Supplied by ABC News

Darwin man Ben Hoffmann, 45, was dragged from a ute, tasered and arrested by police about 100 metres from where Mr Baydoun was shot dead.

He remains in custody.

On Wednesday, a group of distraught friends and relatives gathered outside the Palms Hotel, with many in tears.

Mr Baydoun's two brothers used to live in Darwin but returned to Lebanon where his parents live.

His cousin, Haidar Baydoun, posted in Arabic on Facebook "God has mercy on you, cousin".

Ali Malik wrote "very sorry for your loss brother, he had nothing but smiles every time I spoke to him".

The Blue Taxi Company said he was a beloved driver.

"Our company is heartbroken and his colleagues are in a state of shock," a statement said.

"Someone shot having a meal break while going about their own business."

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