‘Every gunshot that I hear keeps me running’

‘Every gunshot that I hear keeps me running’

Westbury is under siege yet again. It is tainted by gun violence, gangsterism, drugs and crime, living in fear, the community is now under a self-imposed lockdown.

This after 13 people were shot, two of them lost their lives while 11 are recovering. It comes in the wake of the murder of an alleged gang leader in the area early this week. Westbury is gripped by horror and disbelief and the guns won’t fall silent. And this is where hope is swallowed by death.

Bullet-riddled bodies are a familiar sight on the street. Steven is among the survivors of a recent shooting. He and his friend were attacked on a pavement at night.

“A car reversed, from there I just started hearing gun shots, like over 16 shots,” says Steven.

They were torn with agony and had to run for their lives.

“I ran and my friend collapsed immediately because the bullet went straight into his spine, one in the arm, one in the ribs and one in the spinal cord…and my friend is still in hospital paralysed, picking up pneumonia and a couple of sicknesses from the bullet wound. So, every day he breaks down, he cries as he feels like he’s been robbed and he has been robbed,” Steven added.

Steven has had a bullet carved out of his upper arm and he is now back at home to recover.

“The bullet entered here and my bone broke, my bone pierced through my skin which is hard for me to lift or move excessively,” Steven explains.

Steven feels lucky and grateful to be alive, but Westbury’s escalating turf wars are not restricted to the night’s darkness.

A teenage boy was caught in a daylight gun battle at a street corner this past week and shocked by the doctor’s report.

“According to the doctor, the one bullet went pass his heart out by his left arm, and the other one went from his chest to his back, luckily his organs were not damaged, it’s just the spinal bone and the backbone that was damaged, and his lungs were collapsed because of the internal bleeding, he didn’t breathe on his own,” the teenage victim’s mother says.

The motive behind the attacks remains unknown. Westbury is itching to go back to normality, but the fear is palpable on the streets amid a self-imposed lockdown.

It’s even hard for residents to talk in front of the SABC’s cameras.

VIDEO: Westbury rocked by gang-related killings

Criminologist Kholofelo Rakubu has been looking into Westbury’s deadly gang violence. She knows better than most the mindset of a criminal.

“A criminal is a rational thinker, they plan, they strategise, and with what’s happening today, they have an understanding that South African law enforcement is not prepared because they have identified suitable targets and the vulnerability of the community, and the absence of a capable guardian. The absence of a capable guardian can be the police, now they have realised that capable guardian is incapable,” says Prof Rakubu.

“To be more straightforward is that there are people who have moved from Cape Town to create the new chaos, maybe it is on that score that we must up our game as police to make sure that whether you come from Cape Town or anywhere to be here, we need to deal with those matters,” says Police Minister Bheki Cele.

For now, the sound of gunshots will keep haunting Steven.

“Every gunshot that I hear keeps me running, I still feel unsafe, I feel anxiety at night,” Steven reiterates.

Until culprits are rounded up, Westbury will keep drowning in blood and grief.

VIDEO: Another teenager shot in alleged gang-related violence in Westbury 

Original Story by www.sabcnews.com


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