File photo: Matt Rourke/AP
Johannesburg - A Joburg man is fighting for his life after being shot by an unknown gunman he befriended on Facebook and invited to his home.

The drama unfolded at Craighall Park over the weekend when two men who had been chatting on Facebook for at least three weeks decided to meet. They had drinks and then went to the victim’s home, where the trouble started.

Parkview police said one man refused to leave the victim’s house after a few more drinks. An argument ensued and the suspect took out a black revolver and first threatened to shoot the victim.

Spokesperson Captain Tintswalo Sibeko said: “They started pushing each other downstairs until the suspect shot the victim twice in the waist before forcing the victim at gunpoint to go to the garage where he was instructed to get in the boot of a car.”

According to Sibeko, the victim was locked in the boot for several hours until he managed to free himself and ask neighbours for help. While he was stuck in the boot, the suspect - whom police are still looking for - took off with a cellphone and a plasma TV valued at R25 000.

“The man is fighting for his life and we cannot release his name,” said Sibeko.

Neighbours allegedly phoned an ambulance when they discovered the bloody victim screaming for help.

“Police took a statement from the guy and he was taken to hospital. The man told the police that he met this guy three weeks earlier on social media and it was the first time he came to his house that night,” Sibeko said.

He said police did not manage to obtain much of information from the victim as his condition was unstable and needed to be rushed to hospital.

Free State University Criminology lecturer, Robert Peacock blamed loneliness for people opting to take the dangerous route of trusting strangers they meet on social media.

“We live in an alienated and fast paced society, and people don’t have real life friendships. Loneliness and a feeling of not belonging cause people to be naive and desperate. Which is why most people prefer anonymous interaction. This therefore leads to increased victimisation,” said Peacock.

He gave the following warning tips for anyone that opts to either meet people they befriend on social media.

“Never meet anyone in a secluded place and at least tell someone where you are going.The red flags are normally the type of social network they meet on and the content they shared.

“The case study is a symptom of how increasingly we are becoming more alienated from one another,” he added.

Peacock said perpetrators did research on their “victims” as they are very manipulative and that a lot of internet grooming often took place.

This is not the first time that online meetings have spelled disaster for people.

Earlier this year, a 24-year-old suspect was arrested in his Kingsway home near Modderbee, in Benoni, Ekurhuleni, for allegedly murdering a woman he met on Facebook.

The man met the woman at a taxi rank before going to his house. The man told a friend the next day he had done something bad and asked the friend to call the police. On their arrival at the suspect’s home, they found the woman’s body.

In 2011, the Durban Regional Court sentenced so-called “Facebook Rapist” Thabo Bester to a 50-year jail term. The sentence was later cut to 30 years.

Bester, 25, pleaded guilty to raping and robbing two women he lured to Durban with promises of modelling photo shoots.

Bester admitted that he advertised for potential models on a website. A victim contacted him and they drove from Johannesburg to Durban and booked into a hotel, where he tied the victim with duct tape and raped and robbed her.

He said he felt remorse after the rape and went to another hotel to commit suicide, but another person saw him and threw him out of the hotel. A week later, he raped another woman in the Durban area.

The Star