Mercilessly stabbed and shot in the face, metres away from their homes. These were the fates of two young Hanover Park men in one week.
Elrico Lewis (19) should have celebrated his 20th birthday with his family yesterday (Monday). His mother, Magdalene, planned to cook a special supper for him.
But on Saturday, 3 May, he was murdered. allegedly by a woman (23), her husband (24) and her father (43). Elrico was on his way from Orion Court - just one street away from his Fortuin Road home - at around 22:00.
According to police statements, the suspects and Elrico had been drinking earlier that evening. Insults were said to have been thrown around between the two groups. The suspects apparently went to find Elrico later that night.
The father allegedly hit Elrico in the head with the handle of a pick axe. He and his son-in-law allegedly held him down as the woman allegedly stabbed Elrico with a knife. Elrico suffered wounds to his arms - as he tried to defend himself - and to the chest.
A friend of Elrico, who did not want to be named, says he heard the commotion, and when he got outside, he saw his friend lying in a pool of blood in a neighbour's yard.
"The blood was pumping out of him. I knew he wasn't going to make it. I picked him up and carried him to the day hospital," he says. "Of all the people, Elrico didn't deserve this. Nobody deserves to die in this brutal way," his friend says.
Elrico is described as a quiet, respectful boy who always offered his help to others. Community worker Gigi Richards, who lives in Orion Court, says Elrico was "not a skollie (thug). The only crime he was ever guilty of was being poor. We are all devastated by this."
Richards says the boy, along with a few of his friends, would sweep their courts just to keep busy. He could often be seen playing soccer or dominoes on the corner. But, Richards says, he never caused trouble.
The three suspects were arrested by the Philippi Police in the early hours of Sunday morning. This is little comfort to his mother, Magdalene. "It's fine that they were arrested. But he was my only son," she says.
Elrico and his sisters, aged 5 and 17, were very close. "They are taking it very hard. Maybe we will consider getting counselling for the family," says Magdalene.
The three suspects will each face a murder charge in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court today (Tuesday).
But another grieving mother, a kilometre away from the Lewises, does not have any kind of peace of mind. Her son's murderer is still at large. Last Sunday, 27 April, Joseph Samuels (29) was murdered about 50 metres from his Rywood Walk home. Samuels and a friend were on their way home from a nearby shebeen at 01:30. They were approached by two men, one of them carrying a pump-action shotgun.
The man carrying the gun asked who they were, and Samuels answered them. The assailant apparently told Samuels, "Ek skiet jou soema in jou bek (I'll shoot you in your mouth)". He then pointed the gun to his face, and fired a shot into his mouth.
The victim's friend - who heard the gun being cocked again - fled around the corner. A second shot was fired, but missed its intended target. Samuels, says the investigating officer, had no criminal links.
He says he lost his life because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the gunmen were on a mission to kill that night.
There have been no arrests or leads in this case. Anyone with information is asked to phone Detective Inspector Willie Bachmann on 079 894 1323 or (021) 690-1500.