Durban - A 6-year-old girl ran almost 2km in the dark for help after her father was shot by hijackers, who then fled in their car - with her 14-month-old baby brother strapped in his car seat.
Hafez Rashaad Razak, 35, was shot in the head as he bravely tried to free his son.
The furniture company employee was travelling in his Toyota Conquest with his children in Lenasia South when he was allegedly ambushed by a group of armed men on Friday night.
He died later in hospital.
A relative who requested anonymity said Razak was on his way to visit his parents in Lenasia Extension 10 when he was attacked.
“The suspects had hijacked a Toyota Quantum and were being chased by the authorities. They were looking for another vehicle in order to escape.
"As Rashaad slowed down at the intersection of Volta and Shari Crescent, the men fled from the Quantum and held him at gunpoint, demanding his vehicle,” he said.
“His daughter was sitting in the front passenger seat and his son was strapped in his car seat. Rashaad got out of the vehicle and opened his daughter’s door. He told her to run to her grandparents's home and tell them what was happening.”
As she was about to escape, and as Razak went to get his son out of the car seat, he was shot in the head by one of the suspects, the relative said.
“We believe they assumed he was going to get a weapon and they shot at him. The men then got into the car and sped off with the baby.”
The relative said the little girl had run to her grandparents’s home, frantically knocking on their door.
“She stayed at the home with her grandmother while her grandfather drove to the scene. Police had already cordoned off the area. Rashaad’s body was lying on the centre of the road. The car was gone and his grandson was nowhere to be seen.”
Minutes later, however, the car’s anti-hijack system activated near the Trade Route Mall.
“A tow-truck driver spotted the vehicle and as he went toward it the men fled. The baby was found unharmed, but was crying,” the relative said.
“Rashaad was taken to hospital but he sustained severe brain damage and later died.”
The family, he said, was rallying together in prayer.
“We are thankful the children were not harmed. His daughter is undergoing counselling.”
The relative described Razak as helpful and humble.
“He was a Hafez (someone who memorised the Qur’an). Rashaad was a loving father and husband.”
Lenasia CPF chairperson Preyalan Pillay said it seemed that crime had increased during the festive season.
“We need a tight grip on our security nationally. We can be the best country in the world if we deal with crime properly and with harsher rules and consequences,” he said.
Police spokesperson Vincent Mashiteng said police were investigating a case of hijacking, kidnapping and murder.
“We have launched a manhunt for the suspects and have appealed to anyone with information about the incident to come forward.”