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Durban - The family of a Phoenix father of two, who was shot dead in his vehicle, believe he was killed because of a long-standing feud with alleged drug dealers.
Brandon Pillay, 30, of Riftside Place, was shot in the head while in the driver’s seat of his silver Toyota Avanza. A teenager who was sitting in the passenger seat escaped unharmed.
Pillay had stopped in Hemside Crescent in Phoenix on Saturday night in an attempt, according to his family, to end a feud with another family who Pillay had believed was responsible for his father’s death.
According to a police source, a man walked up to the car and shot Pillay in the head. He died later at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
A woman who lives near the scene of the shooting said she had heard gunshots and rushed to see what was happening.
“As I approached the vehicle I saw Brandon lying slouched over on to the passenger seat.
“He had blood oozing from his head. There was blood all over. His fingers were moving,” she said, requesting anonymity because she feared for her safety.
“I screamed for help and then ran inside to phone his family to inform them of his shooting. Everyone scattered, there was not a soul on the road, which is always busy.”
Residents were living in fear as Pillay and the family had been involved in previous skirmishes, she said.
The police source said relations between the two families had soured after Pillay’s father was run over by a vehicle allegedly driven by a member of the other family.
Pillay had been charged with attempted murder relating to an attack on the family, but was never prosecuted, the source said.
Pillay’s mother, Devi Pillay, 54, denied that her son’s death was drug related and lashed out at the police for not clamping down on drug dens in the area.
“My baby, my baby. They shot you and took your life away,” she said addressing a framed photograph of her son during an interview with the Daily News in the living room of her flat.
She said Brandon had left behind an 11-year-old and 6-year-old daughter.
The traumatised mother, who broke down in tears from time to time, said: “Those people were involved in the killing of my ex-husband, and the court proceedings are still dragging on. Brandon never had closure ever since the death of his father.
“The rumours of this shooting being drug related are nonsense,” she said. “Brandon had changed his life around and went to make peace with them.
“What about the police, why aren’t they doing anything about the well-known drug dens?”
However, the family who are alleged to have been behind the shooting have dismissed the allegations.
Requesting anonymity, they said they had been receiving death threats since the shooting.
Soon after the shooting, gang members arrived at their house and started hurling insults at them, said the family’s spokeswoman.
“We fear for our lives; we cannot go anywhere,” the 34-year-old woman told the Daily News.
“They think we are behind his death. We were inside when we heard two shots being fired and we thought we were under attack and my brother pressed a panic button to alert ADT security,” she said.
She said there had been bad blood between them and Pillay since his father’s death. Brandon believed her younger brother was the driver of the car in that incident, she said.
“What followed was a barrage of death threats,” the woman said.
“It was on Christmas Day two years ago when Brandon and his crew stormed inside the house and shot my niece on the elbow.
“My younger brother was shot on both knees. He still has pins and scars in his legs,” she said as her 18-year-old brother pointed to his legs.
The woman, who showed a Daily News team CCTV cameras installed at her house after her family received the initial death threats, said Pillay had not been prosecuted for any of the alleged incidents.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said that a case of murder had been opened at Phoenix police station after Pillay was killed.
“The motive for the shooting is unknown and no arrest has been made,” he said.