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By Citizen Reporter


Police dismiss reports of third death in New Year’s Melville drive-by shooting

According to reports, a BMW SUV travelling from 7th Street opened fire at restaurant patrons seated outside. 

While it was reported that a third person had died following an alleged drive-by shooting that took place just after 1am on New Year’s Day outside Poppy’s restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg, Brixton Police Station spokesperson Jeanette Backhoff has since disputed this.

“The victim that recently passed on at Helen Joseph’s Hospital was not involved in last night’s Melville shooting incident,” she said.

EWN reported that sources at Helen Joseph Hospital reported informed them that third person involved in the accident had died at the facility. Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee also reported on social media that a third person had passed away.

However, according to Backhoff, the deceased in question died in an unrelated incident.

She explained: “This victim’s death was due to the stab wounds they incurred during a separate incident which took place in Sophiatown on the same night as the Melville shooting.”

Police have launched a manhunt to try to apprehend the suspects which are responsible for killing two females and hospitalizing six others. Those with information are urged to come forward to help bring justice to all those affected.

It was confirmed on Wednesday morning that two females were certified dead on the scene by paramedics, however, she added that no other individuals involved in the incident have died

According to reports, a BMW SUV travelling from 7th Street opened fire at restaurant patrons seated outside. Police are searching for those involved. 

An eyewitness interviewed by news channel eNCA said that earlier there had been a fight between four male patrons at the restaurant. One of the men then left, threatening that he would come back.

He said that when the shooting later occurred, the scene erupted into chaos as people ran around trying to find cover.

“People didn’t understand if it was a gunshot or a firework. We only started to find out when people began to fall down; then [we knew] it is a gun,” the man explained.

Police say eight people were shot in total. Two women were declared dead at the scene, and six others were rushed to nearby hospitals, two of which in a critical condition. 

The deceased were aged between 30 and 40 years of age. 

According to Backhoff, officers found paramedics on the scene attending to eight victims that were shot by unknown suspects.

“The suspects were seen to be driving a black BMW X5 with no registration,” Backhoff told Northcliff Melville Times, adding that police found four empty cartridges and four projectiles at the scene.

The restaurant released a statement on Facebook following the incident, with Poppy’s management and staff offering their “deepest and sincerest condolences” to the friends and families of the victims. 

Poppy’s confirmed it would remain closed until further notice, to allow for police investigations to continue. 

Media personality Ursula Chikane was one of the patrons at the restaurant at the time of the incident.

“My head counted five rapids but there could’ve been two before I realised that the bangs were gunfire and not fireworks,” she tweeted.

Facebook user Allyson Roberts King posted that her children had been there with a group. She said two people in the group, one a doctor and the other a paramedic, had “tried to assist the victims”.

Twitter user Lucky N Khumalo, who was also at the restaurant that night, simply posted: “Lucky to be alive.”

“I am in shock. I don’t know if I should be here or if I should go to the hospital or go home. Not one of us feels safe anymore,” Thabang Molefe said.

He said his brother Lerato, who is also a car guard, was walking past Poppy’s when the shooting started.

“We just heard shots. My brother was lying in a pool of blood, crying for help.”

Police have opened two cases of murder and six of attempted murder.

Provincial Commissioner of Police Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has condemned the incident.

The Gauteng government also issued a statement condemning the shooting.

“As the province we are saddened by this barbaric act. New Year’s Day is a day of hope and celebration, a day where people plan their lives for the better,” acting premier Panyaza Lesufi said in a statement.

“I have all the trust in our police that the perpetrators will be brought to book,” he added.

Mawela appealed to anyone who may have witnessed the incident or can assist in the arrest of the suspects to come forward by calling 08600 10111, the Brixton Police Station on 011 248 5500, or by giving an anonymous tip-off on the MySAPS app.

Updates to follow as more information is made available.  

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder. Additional reporting by Northcliff Melville Times‘ Andile Dlodlo, News24 Wire)

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