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Sunday, 6 June, 2010

Popular Restaurant Owner Shot, Killed Friday Night
Ahmed El Tawmi owned Gyros House on Melville In The Loop


Ahmed El Tawmi


A popular restaurant owner who's U-City business attracted customers from many nationalities died from gunshot wounds Friday night. Ahmed El Tawmi owned Gyros House on Melville just a few steps from Delmar and Blueberry Hill. He was shot and killed in the parking lot of his Maplewood apartment shortly after 9 p.m. Police called in the Major Case Squad to provide enough manpower to scour the neighborhood.

Authorities are looking for a suspect witnesses described as a black male in his late teens or early twenties wearing dreads and possibly a do-rag on his head. He was dressed in a white tee shirt and blue jeans.

El Tawmi was an avid soccer player whose life revolved around his restaurant. The 50 year old was born in Libya and immigrated to the United States in the early 19-80s. He worked at the Zorba the Greek restaurant on Delmar as a cook and then purchased the business in 1992 changing the name to Gyros House. It was known for its gyros, a Greek sandwich; generous servings and reasonable prices. The business attracted everyone from Washington University students to Ethiopian cab drivers and city police officers and EMTs.

Several of his loyal employees and customers gathered at Blueberry Hill Saturday to share stories and mourn his death. He spoke Greek and Italian one man said. Another praised El Tawmi's ability to mentor people.

Friend Kevin Walker described him as one of the original Loop merchants who loved the neighborhood's diversity and promoted it. "The hole he leaves is enormous," Walker said. "He had people work for him whose intellect exceeds serving food in restaurants, but they loved him and they loved the place and they've been working there for years," Walker added. "It's an eclectic mix of good people."

A memorial service to honor El Tawmi's memory will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Daar-ul Islam Mosque at 517 Weidman Road in Manchester. Interment will follow. El Tawmi never married. He is survived by an uncle Dr. Ali Raffa of Ladue.

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