Rylands shopkeeper shot dead

Top Cell cell phone shop where Aqib Khan was killed.

Aqib Khan, from Pakistan, was shot and killed in a cellphone shop that he managed in Rylands, on Tuesday June 21.

The 27-year-old was shot three times in the chest after two people, one of them armed with a firearm, entered the Top Cell cellphone shop in Hazel Road, after 3pm. The shop is situated on the same premises as the BP garage.

CCTV footage of the incident was posted on the Athlone Gangwatch Facebook page, showing Mr Khan helping a female customer, and then looking in the direction of the two entering the shop. As they do so, shots are fired and then they run out.

After taking a hit to the side of his body, Mr Khan falls down where he remains motionless. Customers are seen scattering in the shop as they run for cover before the other employees run to Mr Khan’s aid.

A petrol attendant who was on duty at the time and asked that his identity be withheld, said that a white Ford Bantam bakkie had pulled up outside of the cellphone shop between 3pm and 3.30pm.

“The one guy was wearing a peak cap and gloves. They got out of the bakkie and the one pulled his cap down and adjusted his gloves. They entered the shop and we heard three gunshots. The pair then ran out of the shop and jumped onto the back of the bakkie. The car was found at a mosque in Gatesville, empty,” he said.

“He was a very nice man, treated me like family. I’m not feeling well about this at all. Nothing was stolen so it couldn’t have been a robbery. There was a lot of people inside of the shop,” he added.

Sergeant Zita Norman, spokesperson for Athlone police confirmed the incident, explaining that: “On Tuesday June 21, at 3.10pm at a shop in Hazel Road, Rylands, Athlone SAPS attended to a complaint of shooting and on their arrival at the store, they were informed by witnesses that two unknown suspects entered the shop, one wielding a firearm and asking ‘Is he the guy?’ before firing three shots at the victim’s torso.

“The suspects then fled the scene in a white Ford Bantam LDV with unknown registration details. The victim was admitted to Gatesville Medical Centre and is now deceased,” said Sergeant Norman.

Athlone Community Police Forum chairperson Aziza Kannemeyer said that she received the call about the incident just before 6pm.

“The community of Gatesville is very private when it comes to things like this. They are shocked, especially because it has happened in the month of Ramadaan. The area is known for break-ins, hijacking, and robberies but not murders. It is an area that has become rife with prostitution, and vagrants but not killings,” said Ms Kannemeyer.

One of the workers at Gatesville Medical Centre who did not want to be named, said her colleague had been inside the cellphone shop when the shooting occurred.

“We are feeling very uneasy now. We have to look over our shoulders when we walk in the road.”