Com­mu­nity crime-fighter shot dead at home

Post - - NEWS - CHAR­LENE SOMDUTH

DAYS af­ter cel­e­brat­ing his 47th birth­day, Le­na­sia crime­fighter Ra­jen Reddy was shot in the heart and died out­side his home on Fri­day night.

And the next day the body of an­other res­i­dent, Rana Singh, 61, was found dumped along a lo­cal road. A shocked passer-by found his body, which had mul­ti­ple stabs wounds, wrapped in a du­vet cover.

Ac­cord­ing to a source, it is al­leged that Singh was kid­napped. His mouth was gagged with a cloth and sealed with duct tape.

“In ad­di­tion to his in­juries, his neck was bound with string and his feet was slightly burnt. His track pants were half­way be­low his but­tocks.

“We be­lieve he was mur­dered in an­other area and his body dumped on the road­side.”

With two mur­ders in two days and vi­o­lent crime on the in­crease, the com­mu­nity of Le­na­sia is up in arms.

Fel­low crime-fighter Derek Pil­lay said that min­utes af­ter his friend Reddy had said good­bye to his son Jo­dache, who had dropped off his sis­ter, Janelle at their home, he was fa­tally shot in chest.

The shoot­ing oc­curred at about 7.15pm on Fri­day.

“Ra­jen went out­side to open the gate for Janelle. She went into the house and Ra­jen was stand­ing in the yard say­ing good­bye to his son.

“Sec­onds af­ter his son drove off, an un­known male walked to his gate and started talk­ing to him. Mo­ments later the man pulled out a gun and shot him twice in the chest. The bul­lets pierced his heart and the sus­pect fled the scene.”

When Reddy’s wife San­dra and daugh­ter heard the shots, said Pil­lay, they looked out the win­dow, only to see Reddy on the ground.

“They rushed to his aid and called neigh­bours to help them. Ra­jen was bleed­ing pro­fusely and they were hys­ter­i­cal. An­other pa­troller stepped in to help.

“He called po­lice and paramedics but un­for­tu­nately Ra­jen’s in­juries were too se­vere and he died at the scene.”

Pil­lay de­scribed the mur­der as baffling.

“Ra­jen was a peace­ful and hum­ble man who would not harm a fly. He’d just cel­e­brated his 47th birth­day. I can­not un­der­stand why some­one would do this to him. No­body knows what tran­spired be­tween him and that man.

“His wife and chil­dren are find­ing it very hard to cope.”

The grand­fa­ther of one worked as a project man­ager, was a mem­ber of the Le­na­sia CPF and was pas­sion­ate about fight­ing crime.

“He al­ways fought against crime in a non-vi­o­lent man­ner. Ev­ery Thurs­day and Sun­day from 8pm un­til 11pm he pa­trolled the whole of Ex­ten­sion 13 with a team.

“On Thurs­day af­ter his first pa­trol he joined an­other group from 12am un­til 4am to pa­trol the whole of Le­na­sia. That’s how ded­i­cated he was.”

Pil­lay said crime in Le­na­sia was es­ca­lat­ing.

“We re­cently had a pen­sioner who was mur­dered in his home. Hi­jack­ings and house rob­beries are on the rise. We un­der­stand the SAPS has lim­ited re­sources and as a com­mu­nity we are try­ing to as­sist. Our chal­lenge is that from the whole of Le­na­sia, we have only about 10% of res­i­dents who are in­ter­ested in do­ing pa­trols.”

Tributes have been pour­ing in for Reddy, with many call­ing him a hero.

Kishore Badal said the com­mu­nity was stunned at the killing of a “gen­tle hu­man be­ing” who sac­ri­ficed his nights, time and peace to as­sist in keep­ing oth­ers safe.

“We sym­pa­thise with the fam­ily and the friends, par­tic­u­larly the pa­trollers, and pray that they re­ceive the strength and courage to cope with this im­mense loss.

“We are ex­tremely sorry and feel your loss.”

Le­na­sia SAPS is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter but no ar­rests have yet been made.

A 50-year-old sus­pect has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with Singh’s mur­der and is due to ap­pear in the Le­na­sia Mag­is­trate’s Court this week.

Po­lice spokesper­son Mpanda Khoza said the mo­tive for the mur­der was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

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