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Durban - A young man rushing to save his father from robbers who invaded their Greenwood Park home died a hero, his devastated family said.
Sachin Soni, a 20-year-old engineering student, was shot dead on Monday night as his father was trying to fend off two of five robbers with a broom.
“We are all still very shocked. He was so young and had so much to live for. It’s hard to believe that he is not here any more,” said Soni’s father, Ashok Soni, 68, yesterday.
He said he was downstairs with his late domestic worker’s son, Siboniso Shabangu, 8, whom he is taking care of, when two men walked into the house through the garage at about 8pm.
Three others were waiting in a getaway car.
“I had just ended a call to my friend when two men walked in and asked me for money, the car keys and jewellery,” said Ashok.
“I took a broom and tried to fight them off.
“Sachin and my wife were upstairs and they heard the commotion.”
As Soni rushed down the stairs, he encountered the two men walking towards the bedrooms.
He tried to tackle them while his mother, Madhu, pressed the panic button.
But one robber shot him twice, in the stomach and chest.
“They must have felt threatened by Sachin because even though he was 20 years old, he was very tall and had a lot of muscle because he went to the gym every day,” Ashok said.
The men fled with nothing.
Ashok went to his son, who was covered in blood, and held him in his arms.
The neighbours heard the commotion and rushed to the scene. One of them called an ambulance.
But Ashok and his wife feared the ambulance would take too long to arrive.
They put their son into a car and took him to eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre where he died.
“He lost a lot of blood and the doctors really tried everything to save him, but they could not,” Ashok said.
He said his son died a hero.
“Siboniso is very traumatised. He saw everything,” Ashok said.
He said his son loved cars, going to the gym, and music.
“He had just bought his tickets for the Eminem concert in Johannesburg and was very excited about going.
“His mother cannot believe it, she is beside herself. We keep asking why this would happen to us.”
The former chairman of the Greenwood Park Sector 2 Community Police Forum (CPF), Luc Augustine, said this was the first house robbery in the area this year.
“There had been high incidences of serious and violent crime in the area last year which the neighbourhood watches were working to eradicate,” he said.
“Areas with neighbourhood watches and who are active in the CPF are seeing a decrease in crime,” Augustine said, adding there was no established neighbourhood watch in the Workington Road area where the murder took place.
“We urge people to join neighbourhood watches and keep doors and windows locked at night.”
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed the details of the robbery.
“Ashok tried to fight back with a broom, his son rushed downstairs and tried to help, but he was shot twice.
“Three shots were fired, one hit a window,” he said.
Zwane said the robbers had fled in a silver Toyota Run-X.
“Police are still investigating and no arrests have been made yet.”