Tavern owner shot dead

2010-03-29 00:00

A TAVERN owner was shot dead by an unknown man on Friday evening in Oribi Village, where residents say social ills such as drinking and drug abuse are getting out of hand.

Leon Lupke (31) was killed by someone who rang his bell and shot him twice in the chest when he opened the serving window. Nothing was taken in the attack.

The two patrons drinking at the back of the tavern did not immediately go to investigate, as they were afraid to confront the gunman.

“We were too scared to jump and investigate because we were not armed, in case the shooter attacked us. After a while, we went to the front, where we found Leon lying on the floor in a pool of blood,” said one of the patrons.

During the drama, Lupke’s mother was asleep inside the main house.

The two drinkers loaded Lupke on to a bakkie to take him to hospital. On the way, they met Netcare 911 paramedics parked at the corner of Alexandra Road and Alan Paton Avenue (Durban Road).

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said the men in the bakkie had approached them and explained the situation.

“Attempts to resuscitate the wounded man were in vain. He succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene,” said Wicks.

Lupke was buried after a service at his father’s home in Northdale yesterday. His brother Indran said his parents were too busy with the funeral arrangements to speak to the media.

Residents of Oribi say they are fed up with criminal activities in the area, including armed robbery, assault and murder.

“When the area was established, it was a quiet and nice neighbourhood to live in. As we got used to the place all this k*k started, and today Oribi is the worst place to be in Pietermaritzburg,” said one.

“These youngsters are drunk or high on drugs every day, and you ask yourself where they get the money to feed their habit.

“The police are fully aware of the drug and crime problem in the area.”

The resident told of an attack on a patron of Lupke’s tavern at about 8 pm on Friday, just hours before the shooting of the owner at about 11 pm.

“We had two beers with him right here and he said he was going home. Just a few minutes later, he came back with six stab wounds to his chest. Till today nobody has been held accountable for the attack,” the resident said.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said that Lupke was shot twice and died of the wounds.

She said the police found a 7.65 cartridge at the scene and are following leads.

“On the crime, drugs and alcohol problem, everywhere you go the same exists. We have conducted crime-prevention exercises and we also do patrols in the area. When people get arrested for the crimes they have committed, they come out and commit the same crimes,” said Jeevan.

A police source, who did not wish to be named, said drugs are the main cause of crime in Oribi.

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