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Durban - A Phoenix grandmother has told how she fetched her 4-year-old grandchild from his father’s car moments before gunmen opened fire, hitting him and killing his best friend who was sitting nearby.
Farren Reddy, 28, died in hospital while the child’s father, who has been identified only as Afzal, is fighting for his life in a Phoenix hospital.
Reddy’s family believes it was a case of mistaken identity because the assailants had first opened fire on a group of men standing next to a car on the other side of the two victims, before turning on the two friends.
Afzal worked at a call centre and visited his mother-in-law over weekends while Farren worked at a Persian carpet shop in Lilian Ngoyi (Windermere) Road.
Reddy, of Rinkgreen Walk in Greenbury, was sitting outside his flat on Friday night, chatting to his friend, who had come to visit his mother-in-law in a neighbouring flat, when two men walked by. Seconds later they began shooting at a group of young men nearby.
Farren’s father, Eddie Reddy, said the victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
His eldest son, Riccardo Reddy, said a group of young men were standing in front of a car when the two assailants saw them and opened fire with handguns.
At the time, Afzal was packing items in his car in the driveway while chatting to Farren, who was seated on a chair nearby.
Riccardo said he could not understand why the gunmen had shot them.
According to Afzal’s mother-in-law, who asked not to be named, he was shot at close range.
She said Afzal tried to run but was shot in the leg.
Afzal managed to limp and then crawl into her house. He lay at the feet of his sister-in-law and asked her to rush him to hospital because he had been shot.
Riccardo said his brother fell off the chair and lay on the ground motionless. The young men standing next to the car were not harmed, but several bullet holes in the wall bore testimony to the incident.
Outside Afzal’s mother-in-law’s home the bullets chipped the plaster off the walls in several places.
Reddy said his son had left the flat earlier, telling him he wanted to greet Afzal and see him off and that he would be back in 10 minutes.
“After a while we heard gunshots go off in the building. When I came out into the corridor someone called out my name and said Farren was shot. It was an uncomfortable sight to see your son lying on the floor with bloodstains on his shirt. We rushed him to hospital where he died,” Reddy said.
Farren had been shot twice in his leg, once in his hand and a bullet entered and exited his chest, said Riccardo.
Afzal’s mother-in-law told the
Daily News yesterday that her family feared for their lives. She had taken Afzal’s 4-year-old son out of the car because he had a cold and had just stepped into the house when the shots went off.
She declined to give any details of where he lived or his surname.
“If they got the wrong people they’re certainly going to come back to finish the job. So yes, we are scared,” she said.
“Maybe the shooters are under the impression that the boys (Farren and Afzal) had seen their faces, which I doubt. Afzal was busy packing the car and I think the shots startled both of them.”
Farren, who had a 5-year-old daughter, Trydalya, was cremated on Sunday.
Reddy said there were many versions of what had happened circulating on social networking sites and throughout Phoenix, but they were all untrue.
“We lost someone. We are feeling the pain and you have people spreading rumours,” he said.
“He (Farren) worked six days a week and never had time to loiter in the building.
“It was work and back home. They were never involved in drugs.”
Police are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder.