Port Elizabeth - A four-month-old baby narrowly escaped serious harm after his father was shot dead next to him in gang-related violence in Port Elizabeth, police said on Monday.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the boy was grazed by a bullet as gunmen killed his 21-year-old father, Dillon Barnard, in Bloemendal in the city's Northern Areas on Sunday.
Naidu said it was alleged that two suspects affiliated to the Hondekoppe gang were seen walking down Bibby Avenue firing shots.
Naidu said the suspects entered a bedroom where Barnard and his baby son were sleeping.
She said the men fired several shots at Barnard, killing him. The child sustained a graze wound on his chest and was taken to hospital.
"Members of the Visible Gang Intervention Team were in the area and upon hearing the shots, they immediately responded. With the help of the community, two suspects were seen running between houses.
"The members saw one suspect with a firearm in his hand exit the back of the house into Bardien Street. They chased the suspect both on foot and with the police vehicle. He was cornered in a yard in Bardien Street."
Naidu said a .38 revolver was confiscated as the suspect, a 20-year-old believed to be a member of the Hondekoppe, tried to dispose of the firearm by attempting to throw it onto the roof of the house. Acting Provincial Commissioner Major General Andre Swart applauded the swift reaction of police members in apprehending the man.
He faces charges of murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Swart further condemned what he called a cruel and callous murder.
"We cannot allow such behaviour where criminals have no regard for human life let alone regard for an innocent child lying next to his father. The other suspect must be apprehended and we appeal to the community not to harbour these criminals and to report them to the police. We wish a speedy recovery to the child who narrowly escaped death," said Swart.
African News Agency/ANA