Painter shot dead in gangland

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Cape Town - Police found the body of Devan Claasen lying on the ground between two blocks of flats in Hanover Park at 10pm last night.

The 24-year-old painter had been shot in the head outside his home in the block known as Recife Court, where he lived with his parents and three siblings.

Claasen’s family believes he was the victim of a gangster’s gun, in an area where gangsterism is prevalent.

Nobody knows exactly what happened. Claasen had gone outside at about 9.40pm, when the blocks of flats were striped by the dark shadows of night and the eerie yellow light from the lampposts. Shots rang out.

Claasen’s last words before he died were aimed at the children from the block of flats – he shouted at them to get inside.

“He was a very humble and decent guy; he would always be there for you when you asked him for help,” said his heartbroken younger brother Deon this morning.

“We still all lived together here at the flat and Devan was not a member of a gang.

“But he had friends who were linked to certain gangs and that was the problem.

“These people, they see you walking or talking with somebody who is a member of another gang and they assume you are a member of that gang too. That is how it works here.”

Devan’s mother, Mary, was too distraught to speak about her son this morning.

The last time Deon saw his brother alive was early yesterday when he left for work at Cape Town International Airport.

“The gangs around here ruin our lives. They are an everyday influence and it is very bad.

“Just think of the children who have to grow up here and live through all of this,” Deon Claasen said.

Police liaison officer Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said police were investigating the shooting and a possible link to gangsterism.

Devan Claasen was declared dead at the scene by a paramedic, Traut said.

“The circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Devan are unknown at this stage and no one has been arrested as yet,” Traut said.

“We will also investigate if the shooting was gang related.

“A murder case docket was registered.”

Cape Argus

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