A man was shot dead and three others injured, including a six-year-old, in what appears to be part of an escalating pattern of shootings in Athlone, Cape Town.
No arrests had yet been made for the shooting on Saturday night and the motive for the murder and attempted murders was still being investigated, said Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut on Sunday.
But there are fears that the shooting was gang-related, part of a pattern of drive-by shootings in which innocent bystanders are the victims, since the collapse of a peace agreement between rival gangs a few months ago.
Paramedics said the 35-year-old man died on the scene in 8th Avenue. Three others – aged 6, 25 and 27 – were injured.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said one of the men sustained a gunshot wound to the arm and buttocks, leaving him in a serious condition, while the other man sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.
It is believed that the child was shot in the leg.
Athlone Community Policing Forum chairperson Aziza Kannemeyer told News24 that shootings in the area were on the rise, especially since a peace deal between rival gangs, which had held for a year, collapsed.
The shootings started again in October, said Kannemeyer, and have become an almost daily occurrence since the beginning of December.
The shooting on Saturday followed the same pattern – a drive-by shooting in which innocent bystanders were the victims. This time, the shooting took place outside a local spaza shop.
Kannemeyer said gang- and drug-related incidents were out of control and that the problem was linked to broader societal ills, including youth unemployment.
Kannemeyer said programmes were needed to keep young people out of the gangs, which would ensure that they do not feel as though gangs are the “only place where they belong”.