Poppy's restaurant owner expresses shock over fatal drive-by shooting in Melville

2020-01-01 13:36
The scene outside Poppy's restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg following an alleged drive-by shooting in the early hours of New Year's Day. (Image via Twitter/EMER-G-MED)

The scene outside Poppy's restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg following an alleged drive-by shooting in the early hours of New Year's Day. (Image via Twitter/EMER-G-MED)

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The owner of Melville restaurant Poppy's has expressed shock at the fatal drive-by shooting which occurred outside her premises in the early hours of New Year's Day.

"Poppy's restaurant owner experienced the most tragic event outside her restaurant...Two people who were standing outside her restaurant were shot and killed in a drive-by shooting," the restaurant said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.

"Poppy's management and staff are deeply saddened by this heart-rending incident and send their deepest and sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased."

The restaurant said it would remain closed until further notice as police continued their investigations.


Gauteng police have launched a manhunt in the wake of the shooting in which two women were killed and six people were injured. According to police, a BMW SUV apparently drove past the restaurant just after 01:00 and fired shots at the patrons sitting outside.

An eyewitness interviewed by news channel eNCA said that earlier there had been a fight between four male patrons at the restaurant. One of the men then left, threatening that he would come back.

He said that when the shooting later occurred, the scene erupted into chaos as people ran around trying to find cover.

"People didn’t understand if it was a gunshot or a firework. We only started to find out when people began to fall down; then [we knew] it is a gun," the man explained.

Media personality Ursula Chikane was one of the patrons at the restaurant at the time of the incident. She expressed on Twitter how "an amazing night…grooving" at Poppy’s with her sister turned to terror, as gunshots went off.

"My head counted five rapids but there could've been two before I realised that the bangs were gunfire and not fireworks," she tweeted.

Facebook user Allyson Roberts King posted that her children had been there with a group. She said two people in the group, one a doctor and the other a paramedic, had "tried to assist the victims".

Twitter user Lucky N Khumalo, who was also at the restaurant that night, simply posted: "Lucky to be alive."

"I am in shock. I don't know if I should be here or if I should go to the hospital or go home. Not one of us feels safe anymore," Thabang Molefe said.

He said his brother Lerato, who is also a car guard, was walking past Poppy's when the shooting started.

"We just heard shots. My brother was lying in a pool of blood, crying for help."

The Gauteng government has issued a statement condemning the shooting.

"As the province we are saddened by this barbaric act. New Year’s Day is a day of hope and celebration, a day where people plan their lives for the better," acting premier Panyaza Lesufi said in a statement.

"I have all the trust in our police that the perpetrators will be brought to book," he added.

READ: 11 people wounded in New Year's day shooting at Mary Fitzgerald square

The Gauteng government also noted that just two hours after the Melville shooting, eleven other people were wounded in another shooting incident at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

"Preliminary investigations on the Mary Fitzgerald Square incident reveal that the shooter fired several shots from the upper level of M2 (southbound) double decker bridge and targeted the VIP area," the statement read.

 - Compiled by Mirah Langer

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  shootings

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