Raquel Ohnona Look, a mother from Montreal, was having a video call with her son who was trying to escape from Hamas gunmen on Saturday.
In the background, there were sounds of young women screaming and crying. She advised her son to heed the guidance of Israeli authorities and find a safe place to conceal himself.
“She recounted hearing him say to his friends, ‘They will return, and there are many of them.’ Suddenly, a flurry of gunfire erupted, filling the air with deafening rounds, until all sound ceased,” she shared.
The woman and her spouse made an effort to listen carefully. They soon heard the sound of individuals chanting “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “Allah is greatest.” This phrase can be heard in online videos related to the tragic incident that occurred on Saturday.
“I was aware,” Raquel Look remembered. “I expressed, ‘They are currently taking the life of my son.'”
Alexandre Look, aged 33, was present at an open-air techno music festival close to the Gaza-Israel border on Saturday when it was assaulted by the militant group, according to his family’s statement to CBC News at their residence in Montreal.
Approximately 260 corpses were extracted from the event subsequent to the surprise attack.
Canada, along with other nations, has expressed condemnation for the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the Israeli military in Gaza. They have also issued a warning to citizens in the area, urging them to exercise caution.
According to survivors, he lost his life while ensuring the safety of others.
Alain Haim Look, the father of Alex, mentioned that the family is currently awaiting official confirmation from the Israeli government regarding his son’s demise. They are also making efforts to repatriate his body.
Around 30 individuals sought refuge in a bunker alongside Alex. Subsequently, two of the survivors recorded videos communicating with Alex’s parents, which have been examined by CBC News.
The bunker had no door, but it was built to provide protection from rockets. According to the survivors’ account, he shielded them by using his own body to barricade the entrance.
“He was our shield. I swear to you, he was our shield. If it wasn’t for him, all 30 of us in there would be dead,” a woman in the video recording tells Look’s parents. Another woman in the recording said she had seen Look’s body riddled with bullets after the shooting.
The death of Look has not been confirmed by Israeli or Canadian authorities. His parents are worried that it may take some time to identify his body due to the explosions and shooting, which could delay the Jewish mourning tradition that follows burial.
Raquel Look stated that he was killed while rescuing individuals.
While she takes pride in her son’s bravery, Raquel Looks also expresses a desire for him to prioritize his own safety instead of being excessively heroic and sacrificing his life.
Alex described as a ‘force of nature’
“Alex was a force of nature, endowed with a unique charisma and unparalleled generosity,” Alain Look wrote in a Facebook post announcing his son’s death Saturday, accompanied by several photos of the two together.
He perished as a hero, displaying the valor of a true warrior, driven by a desire to safeguard those in his company.
Raquel Look said her son, a Canadian citizen, had more recently been living in Cabo, Mexico, managing a cosmetic business he owned. With this being a slower time of year for his business, he was vacationing in Israel with friends. He had been there a couple months.
She described her son as having a big heart, always surrounding himself with people since he was a little boy. He was generous, she said, and always helped others. Alain Look said his son was the type to give the shirt off his back or go hungry to ensure others had clothing and food.
Kayla Look, who resides in Montreal, is one of the individuals grieving Alex’s passing. Raquel Look expressed that her daughter is extremely distressed and has been secluded in her room.
Recalling the traumatic final video call with her son, Raquel Look expressed how she could sense the impact of the gunshots. She emphasized that those shots shattered their lives and that they will never experience the same level of joy again. The incident deeply fractured their family.
The family receives assistance from the community.
Devorah Shanowitz, program director and educator at the Chabad of Westmount, said there’s “a tremendous sense of shock and a deep sense of grieving” in the Jewish organization, which Look’s parents are a part of.
During a phone interview with CBC News, she described them as amazing individuals who possess qualities such as kindness, generosity, and positivity.
“It was particularly surprising because one would not anticipate such an event occurring when a child is simply traveling and attending a concert.”
He was an ordinary young man who simply wanted to experience the joys of life in a typical manner.
The Chabad organization has initiated a fundraising effort for the Look family and also launched a campaign to promote acts of kindness in memory of the victim.
Shanowitz expressed that we are motivating our community to spread positivity and combat darkness using light.
Chabad of Westmount expressed on Facebook their solidarity with the community in Westmount and across the globe, grieving over the immense destruction faced by their people and homeland.
Global Affairs Canada has not confirmed Alex’s death, but said Sunday it is working to confirm reports of a Canadian who died and two others who are missing following the attacks.