BRAMPTON, Ont. ó An up-and-coming mixed martial artist tried to do the right thing when he stepped in to stop a robbery over the weekend.
Sadly, it cost Kearn Nedd, 28, his life.
"It's definitely tragic," his older brother, Kendall Nedd, 30, said Monday.
Kendall said he would expect nothing less from his brother. And his family takes some comfort in knowing their loved one died heroically.
"It's disappointing, obviously, because it didn't have to happen," Kendall said. "But knowing Kearn and his character, I'm not surprised at all that he jumped in to try to stop these guys."
Kearn, who had trained in MMA for seven years, was at The Rozz Restaurant and Entertainment Complex, on Advance Blvd. west of Toronto, for a poker tournament Saturday afternoon.
It's believed two men armed with guns entered the establishment looking for cash around 3 p.m.
Kearn tried to intervene and was fatally shot in the chest.
"These guys came in shooting," Kendall said. "I've been told my brother grabbed one of the gunmen and was disarming him when the second guy shot him."
There were about 30 to 40 people in the restaurant at the time and Kendall said one witness told him others surely would have been hurt or killed had his brother not stepped in.
The two assailants remain on the loose.
"We are actively investigating and there are still some witnesses out there that we need to speak to," Const. Wayne Patterson said.
Kendall said his brother had never been in trouble with the law and would not hesitate to help someone in need.
"With the training and the confidence that comes with it, I'm sure he probably thought he could overpower the gunman," he said.
Kearn, who had travelled to the U.S. to fight in the past, hoped to turn pro this year now that Ontario has lifted its ban on MMA.
"He was always at the gym," Kendall said. "It was his life."
Fellow fighters at Kombat Arts Training Academy, the Mississauga gym where Kearn trained, are also grieving.
"His loss will be felt by the martial arts community, and more significantly by the community," the gym's owner, Joey de Los Reyes, wrote on the Kombat Arts website. "It is disheartening to hear that his life is cut short by circumstances beyond any of our control.Ē
Anyone with information is urged to call detectives at 905-453-2121, ext. 3205, or Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).