Port Elizabeth teenager, 14, gunned down in suspected hit

Image: Gareth Wilson

A 14-year-old schoolgirl was gunned down in Port Elizabeth in what police suspect to be another targeted killing.

The girl, whose name is being withheld by police at this stage, was shot at pointblank range in the head while walking home from school in Kwamanube Street in NU6, Motherwell.

This marks the fourth hit-related murder since Friday.Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the body of the teenager was found after an anonymous call to police at about 4pm.

“The call was of a girl in school uniform lying in the street.

“A preliminary investigation shows she was shot at close range in the head,” he said.

“It is unclear if she was walking by herself or with anyone else at the time.

“Thus far nobody has come forward with information and police are baffled as to the reason for this girl’s killing.

“There is a strong suspicion that the murder is a targeted killing as no valuables were taken by her attackers.

“There are also no witnesses so it is unclear if there are multiple suspects or just one and if they were on foot or in a vehicle.”

Asked why the girl’s name was not being released, Beetge said: “Until we have more information, we are hesitant to release the name as it could place the family or the investigation in jeopardy.

“We will release the name once more is known.”

He said the girl’s parents were shattered.

“They are taking it very hard and are extremely traumatised.”

Detectives were with the family until late Tuesday night trying to establish a possible motive.

The Motherwell Cluster Serious Violent Crime Unit has been tasked to take over the case.

Anyone with information that could assist the police in the investigation, should contact Detective Warrant Officer Rynhard Marks on 082 442 0962.Motherwell Cluster Commander, Major-General Dawie Rabie slammed the “callous” killing.

“The callous murder of children not only shocks our communities, but even hardened police members who serve those communities” he said.

This is the third targeted killing in the city since Friday.

Asenathi Marale, 18, was shot dead in Kovu Street, Zwide, at 7pm on Friday while walking with his girlfriend.

On Sunday, Mninawe Khala, 32, was found lying in Boqo Street, Kwazakhele, at about 7am.

Khala had been shot at close range in the face.

On Friday morning, the body of Nkwenkwezi Samuel Plaatjies, 59, was found in Jabu Street in Zwide.

He had been shot three times.

Two months ago, Port Elizabeth police revealed a spike in hit-related murders.

According to detectives, the main contributing factors to the increase in targeted killings was internal fighting within gangs, witness-related killings, murder for death benefit claims and earlier this year, businesses linked to government tenders.

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