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Landing merchants host fundraiser for crime victim
Vino at The Landing will host a fundraiser March 24 for the victim of a robbery and hit-and-run accident that happened to an employee of their neighboring restaurant, Gyros House.
The event, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., is to help offset the medical expenses of Saif Alazzawi, who is a cook at Gyros House. There will be wine-tasting and an appetizer buffet. The cost is $25 a person and 15 percent of additional food and bottle sales Vino will donate to the cause. Landing merchants have collected raffle prizes, including VIP tickets to Richard Sherman’s Celebrity Softball Game, merchant gift baskets, two Coca-Cola bicycles and other branded merchandise to name a few items.
On Jan. 23, Gyros House was robbed for the second time of its tip jar. Restaurant staff Allyssa Adams pursued the suspect, a woman, outside of Gyros House and was followed by Alazzawi, who heard Adams screaming. Alazzawi confronted the suspect but ultimately let her go with the money, as he was instructed to do by other Gyros House staff. The woman retreated into a get-away car and as Alazzawi stepped in front of the car to get the license-plate number, the driver eventually ran over Alazzawi with the car.
Gyros House staff said that a crowd of people watched and tried to interfere as Alazzawi was then dragged underneath the car for about 15 to 20 feet.
The driver, Ronald Bramlett, was arrested for felony assault and but got out on bail and has not made any of the scheduled court appearances, according to Moussa Elmoussa, Gyros House owner.
After surgery and almost a week’s stay at Harborview, Alazzawi is recovering at home in Kent. He had broken ribs, a large baseball-sized cut on his thigh and lost about 60 percent of his skin, as a result of injuries he suffered during the incident, Elmoussa said.
“I feel terrible,” said Adams about her co-worker. “He was just trying to go out there to protect me. I feel like it’s my fault, but he was just trying to protect me. He’s a good friend.”
Alazzawi had been a cook at Gyros House for about two years and is described by his boss, Elmoussa, as a great employee.
“He always looked for something to do during a slow time or when we don’t have any orders,” Elmoussa said. “He would go help in the kitchen; he would help everybody and everybody likes him here.”
Elmoussa is in contact with Alazzawi often and other staff from the restaurant check on him from time to time. His recovery is expected to take between six and nine months.
The restaurant has hosted one fundraising event for Alazzawi and collected $3,000 for his medical expenses which are upwards of $35,000. Because the incident occurred outside of Gyros House, Alazzawi’s insurance did not cover his expenses.
Elmoussa created a flyer with information about Alazzawi and posted it in the restaurant. Regular customers and other Landing vendors inquire often about the cook’s recovery.
“It’s a small community,” said Rick McMaster, Vino’s owner in a press release. “When someone needs help, we open our hearts and wallets to support our family. And we consider our fellow merchants as family.”
Elmoussa and Gyros House staff did not expect the outpouring of support they’ve seen thus far from the community.
“We saw a lot of support and people were very generous and they came and reached out to us and they tried to help,” said Elmoussa. “That gives you another message. There’s bad people there, but there’s great people also, especially in Renton.”
A charity account has also been set up at Key Bank in Alazzawi’s name for the community to contribute donations to help with his medical expenses.