Suspect held over killing of toddler

Two-year-old boy struck by stray bullet while playing outside his house

Hakeem Baartman. Picture Supplied
Hakeem Baartman. Picture Supplied

A suspected gangster has been arrested for the murder of a two-year-old boy who was struck by a stray bullet while playing outside his house almost six months ago.

Hakeem Baartman was killed in Hartebees Street, Helenvale, in a suspected gang shooting on November 18.

The daylight shooting sparked a manhunt by the Eastern Cape Provincial Gang Investigation Unit.

On Monday, they arrested a 22-year-old man for the murder. Hakeem’s death occurred less than 24 hours after former police minister Fikile Mbalula vowed to deploy more police in an attempt to curb gang violence in the area.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the suspect, affiliated to the Upstand Dogs gang, had been caught at a tavern in Voissen Road, Gelvandale, on Monday.

Baartman was shot when the man allegedly attempted to kill a 17-year-old sitting on the steps of a house in Hartebees Street.
“The [teenager] ran into the street and the shooter continued firing at him,” Naidu said.

“A minor [Hakeem], who was playing in the street, was fatally struck in the head by a bullet.”

The teenager was shot in the neck, but survived.

“Since the incident, police have been trying to locate the suspect,” Naidu said.

Acting Mount Road Cluster commander Brigadier Andrew Louw said the arrest came after a tipoff on the man’s whereabouts.

“The community is the eyes and ears of the police and we need their assistance to ensure that these criminals are arrested and removed from society,” he said.

The man is expected to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court tomorrow for murder and attempted murder.