Two people were shot, one fatally, over the weekend following a string of shootings in Lotus River over the past months.
Several shootings in Lotus River, specifically in Buck Road, were reported to police and 10 people were hurt or killed in the past two months because of ongoing tension and retaliation shootings between the Dog Pounds and the Six Bob gangs.
Nathaniel Hill, 42, was caught in the crossfire at a shop near the Lotus River civic centre in Buck Road along with two suspected Six Bob members and two people were shot in separate incidents at another shop on the corner of Buck Road and Klip Road.
Grassy Park police station commander Colonel Dawood Laing said shootings often occur at the shops because the gangs have strongholds located there and these are considered hotspots.
“They are targeted because the shop on the corner of Buck and Klip Road is where the Dog Pound gang members stand and the corner of Buck and Sixth Avenue is usually where Six Bob gang members stand and the retaliation shootings will almost always be on one of those two corners.
“As soon as there is conflict they will target those two shops and a couple of gang members were shot, some drug users but innocent people have also been caught in the crossfire” he said.
A double murder case is also being investigated after two men were shot while they were sitting in a car near the Lotus River civic centre on Sunday July 23.
The men were shot multiple times – one was declared dead on the scene and another, who sustained gunshot wounds to his head and neck, died later in hospital.
In the latest incidents, an alleged gang member was shot in his foot on Saturday August 12 at Slate Court but refused to open a case. When officers and ambulance staff tried to assist the man they were pelted with rocks by some of the community members, said Colonel Laing.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, the body of Jayden Adonis, 27, was found in a car by Grassy Park police officers while on patrol on the corner of Third Avenue and Buck Road.
Grassy Park police spokesperson Captain Wynita Kleinsmith said the man was found slumped in the red Opel with a gunshot wound behind his left ear.
Jayden’s mother Ursula Williams went to the police station on Sunday to report her son missing and was informed by officers that he had been found at 3am.
The distraught mother had to identify her son’s body at the morgue the following day and confirmed that it was indeed Jayden. She said the last time she saw her son alive he was on his way to get food for his family and went to his cousin’s party in Lotus River but left after 11pm. When he wasn’t heard of again she went to the police station to report him missing.
“I don’t know what happened between 11pm and when they found his body but when I got to the police station the officers told me they found the car with him inside. I also don’t know why he was shot because Jayden was not a gangster.”
Jayden would have celebrated his 28th birthday later this month and was expecting his fourth child.
The gang shootings had been at the top of the agenda at a safety meeting held at the Lotus River Civic on Wednesday August 2 and attended by police, neighbourhood watches, community safety and police oversight MEC Reagan Allen, residents and ward councillor Gerry Gordon.
Mr Allen thanked those in attendance. “And thank you for engaging us in an open, frank and robust manner. It is important that we all pull together so that as a united front, we are able to eradicate crime from our communities. Engagements such as these will only strengthen our efforts to create safer communities across the entire province.”
Colonel Laing stressed the importance and need for neighbourhood watches to be established in the specific areas and said it is important for the community to play a role in holding gangsters and shooters responsible by reporting them to police.
He said it is impossible to station a police vehicle at the hotspots because the shootings are sporadic but said operations are conducted according to crime analysis.
“We are asking the community’s cooperation to help us arrest and send the shooters to prison because in many cases it’s the same shooters who are recycled or doing most of the shootings in the area and they come off scot free because people are not willing to give statements.”
Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF) deputy chairperson Nicole Jacobus also stressed the importance of the community assisting police to deal with gang activity and shootings in the area. She also condemned the attacks on police and ambulance staff.
“It is very sad that the community attacks our uniformed staff and it is completely unacceptable because in meetings people complain that police don’t patrol and the ambulance takes too long but then the uniformed officers are attacked when they do their job.”
She said if this continues ambulance staff would have to wait to be escorted by police officers which will prolong the time for much needed medical intervention.
“I don’t think this is fair towards our community and people who desperately need medical assistance. We as the CPF ask the community to be the eyes and ears for police because they cannot fight gangsterism on their own.”
Ms Jacobus said issues brought up at the meeting include the community’s resistance to report issues to the police station or directly to the CPF.
Ms Gordon said the meeting was fruitful and advised residents to report gang and drug houses to her to help fight the scourge of gangsterism.
“There needs to be a partnership between police, neighbourhood watches, the City, the community, the CFP and other stakeholders to address the issues such as theft, gangsterism and other crimes in the area. There is an outcry for help from the community and the shootings need to be brought to a stop and we need urgent intervention. We will have a follow up meeting to come up with an action plan.”
Anyone with information about the shootings are encouraged to call the station on 021 700 3900, 021 700 3902 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.