3 friends found shot dead in KZN
Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - Shock was etched on the faces of the crowd that gathered outside a Northdale house where three friends were shot dead execution-style in the head on Wednesday afternoon.
Jeff Pillay, 45, who was identified as the homeowner, was found along with Merl Maistry, 44, and Musa Ndlovu, 35.
The murder weapon was found discarded under a table in the lounge where all the victims were shot while apparently drinking beer together.
Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan, said the firearm was a 9mm pistol from which the serial number had been filed off.
Two men were taken in for questioning by police in the wake of the shooting, but investigators said they are still trying to piece together what happened and emphasised the two were not detained as suspects at this stage.
The shooting may also have been witnessed by a 6-year-old boy who fled from the scene, and who was being cared for by relatives until police were able to interview him.
Bystanders said they were unsure if the child saw the actual shooting or was outside the house when the shots went off.
The distraught boy fled the scene and took refuge with family members living close by immediately after the shooting.
Maistry’s grieving mother sobbed bitterly on the street outside as family and friends tried without success to comfort her and police kept all onlookers at bay, explaining that forensic experts were still busy combing the crime scene for clues.
Pillay’s two brothers, Stanley and Basil, said they had no idea at all what had happened as they had just arrived at the scene.
“Jeff was not a violent man. He never did anybody any harm, so I don’t know why this should happen to him,” Basil Pillay said.
The brothers said Pillay was divorced with two children, and was unemployed at the time of his death. One of his sons arrived at the murder scene and broke down when he was told what had happened to his father.
He tried to run up the stairs to the house and had to be held back.
Maistry was also a divorcee, The Witness was told.
Neighbours, who did not want to be named, said they heard three gunshots which “sounded like firecrackers” go off at about 15:30.
A friend who regularly drank with the three victims said they were “all just friends”.
He said he had arrived at the house to visit and when he entered he saw the bodies.
He bent down to Maistry, who lay closest to the doorway on the floor, saw blood and realised she was dead. “The other two were still breathing, I think,” he said.
He ran next door to call the neighbours and at that point police pulled up at the scene, he said.
Police described the scene as “very gruesome, with a lot of blood” and confirmed that all three victims were shot in the head. Maistry and Ndlovu lay on the floor while Pillay was on a couch. All three bodies were close to one another.
The station commander of Mountain Rise, Brigadier Francis Bantham, said the shooting was tragic and expressed condolences to all the families and friends of those who died.
“We have our best investigators working on this,” she added.
Police were called away from voting stations where they were deployed to help at the murder scene.
Anyone with information that can assist the police in their investigations can call Colonel Chris Wiles on 079?500?1306.