Durban - The family of a combat sport and self-defence enthusiast who was murdered for his cellphone while walking home in oThongathi (Tongaat) are trying to piece together his last moments.
They believe Tyson Murugan, 24, who was trained in self-defence and street-fighting techniques, might have been caught unawares by his assailants because he was listening to music on his earphones at the time of the vicious attack.
Murugan, of Fairbreeze, had been out exercising and was walking home from a nearby café when he was attacked on a walkway alongside Gopalall Hurbans Road on Tuesday night.
The aspiring mixed martial arts instructor and stunt choreographer was stabbed in the chest and stomach and died at the scene.
His cellphone was stolen.
Karna Murugan, 56, said on Wednesday that he was at the gym when he received a call at about 7pm telling him that his son had been stabbed.
“As I drove I kept thinking to myself, please God, don’t take his life. When I got there I just went numb. I saw Tyson lying on the ground with froth on the side of his mouth.
“The paramedics told me it’s too late – he is dead,” the tearful father said at the family home.
His other son, Mason, had broken the news of the stabbing to him, having been alerted by a neighbour who had seen Tyson lying on the ground, surrounded by a crowd. Mason said his brother had been listening to music on his BlackBerry when attacked and this might have distracted him.
“Tyson was one of the strongest people I came across. There must have been a group of people that attacked him because he could handle himself in any combat situation,” he said.
“I saw on my BBM that he was listening to music at the time of the incident so I assume robbers probably attacked him from behind and he possibly didn’t hear them.”
Mason said: “Tyson was actively involved in defence combat sports and was one of the first in the country to be involved with Defence Lab. This is an overseas organisation, which teaches defence fighting and combat methods.
“Tyson was a superb athlete and I find it difficult to believe that one or two people may have attacked him.
“He had even gone overseas to study the art and in November would have qualified as a Defence Lab instructor.”
Apart from his love for martial arts, Tyson had also begun training in stunt choreography and was taking acting classes.
He recently produced his own short film, The Cobra, which showed combat teaching methods, said Mason.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said the motive for the murder was unknown and investigations were continuing.