Stock picture: The number of FBI background checks for U.S. gun purchases set a record in December.

Durban - A day that should have been one of celebration ended in heartbreak when a Durban grandfather was shot and killed in what police believe was a hijacking on New Year’s Eve, the morning of his 55th birthday.

Asgar Ally Yusuf left his Reservoir Hills home on Monday morning in his Corsa bakkie to buy bread and milk. A short while later paramedics found him in a pool of blood at the side of the road. The bakkie was gone.

Yusuf’s cousin, Babu Gafoor, said the family had been planning a big get- together for later that day. “My cousin had phoned us all and invited us over to celebrate his birthday,” he said.

The hijacking is thought to have happened in Shannon Drive, Reservoir Hills, where Yusuf’s body was found.

ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said paramedics arrived at the scene at 7.30am. Yusuf had had two gunshot wounds, in his stomach and shoulder, and was unconscious, he said.

Paramedics performed CPR and took the critically injured man to Addington hospital where he died less than two hours later.

Yusuf owned a bakery in Clare Estate. He and his wife, Feroza, had four children and two grandchildren. One of Yusuf’s daughters lives in Canada.

The family emigrated to New Zealand eight years ago for “work reasons”, Gafoor said, but returned to South Africa four years later, when Yusuf’s father died.

Gafoor said Yusuf’s mother had died recently.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker confirmed a case of hijacking had been opened at the Sydenham police station. A charge of murder would now be added to this, he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made and Naicker appealed to anyone with information to contact Sydenham police station.

A funeral for Yusuf was held at Brook Street cemetery the same night. - The Mercury