Budding youth’s life cut short

2014-02-05 00:00

SACHIN Soni, a bright 20-year-old final year mechanical engineering student from the Durban University of Technology, died on Monday night trying to protect his father from robbers.

Ash Soni (68) and his son were inside their Greenwood Park home when the robbers pounced on them at about 8 pm on Monday. Soni, Sachin’s father, was on the phone when two men stormed into the living room.

Soni, speaking to The Witness hours before he was due to lay his son to rest yesterday, said all the gates were locked but he believes that the criminals got into his house via an opened garage door.

“I was terrified and I grabbed a broom and tried pushing off the robbers.”

He said the men had demanded money.

“My son was upstairs in his room. He then ran down the stairs and tried to assist me. He had just shouted, ‘Hey’ and they shot him,” Soni recalled.

Sachin was shot twice in the stomach and the men fled, taking nothing with them. “Everything happened quickly.”

The image of his son lying on the stairway gasping for air is one he fears he will never be able to erase.

Soni said he cried and begged his son not to leave him.

A neighbour drove Sachin to hospital but hours later the young man died.

“He would have turned 21 in September,” Soni said.

Soni sat on a chair outside his double-storey home as preparations for Sachin’s funeral service were underway.

“He always told me that I shouldn’t worry. He used to say he’ll start working and he’ll take care of me.”

Soni described Sachin as a respectful and considerate son. He loved his music and was a big Eminem fan. He was looking forward to the concert in Johannesburg next month.

Soni still cannot comprehend how the criminals shot at his son and not him.

“They had an opportunity to shoot me but they didn’t. It makes no sense. You ask yourself if there is a God.”

The retired teacher said parents should never have the fate of burying their children.

Sachin’s childhood friend Sanveer Sooklall (20) said his friend wanted to earn his own money and to be a responsible human being. They both matriculated in 2011 at Effingham High School and have known each other since Grade One.

Sooklall said his friend was bubbly, full of life and outgoing.

Sachin’s body was cremated yesterday.

Greenwood Park Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Robin Candy said this was not the first incident of house robbery in the area, and the community was “devastated by the death of a young person in this fashion”.

“We have a high number of armed robberies, house robberies and hijackings in the Red Hill, Glen Anil and Effingham areas. In the last financial year, we had 104 reported house robberies in these areas. Firearms were used in all these crimes. Effingham is the most targeted,” said Candy.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of murder and attempted house robbery was opened at Greenwood Park SAPS for investigation.

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