Colleagues of murdered defence attorney Noorudien Hassan say they are shocked and horrified by his death.
The chairperson of the Cape Law Society’s criminal law committee, William Booth, tells the Daily Voice: “We are all extremely shocked and disturbed by this unnecessary killing. It is a sad day for lawyers. We are horrified and our condolences to his family.”
Hassan, 45, was shot outside his home in Burwood Road, Lansdowne, on Monday night.
His brother, Yasseen Hassan, said he was shot six times, and died in hospital hours later.
Hassan was sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s silver Mercedes Benz outside his home at the time of the attack.
Several shots were fired through the passenger seat window, and it’s believed one of the bullets struck him in the head.
The friend, a police reservist, managed to escape unharmed.
Spokesperson Constable Noloyiso Rwexana says: “Circumstances surrounding a murder are being investigated after a 45-year-old man was shot and killed last night (Monday) at around 10.05pm in Burwood Road, Lansdowne, by an unknown suspect who is yet to be arrested.”
Hassan represented several high flyers on the police’s hit list, including convicted murderer and 28s gang boss Saliem John, Hanover Park gang kingpin Cecil “Ses” Brown and Leon Small, who police say is a leading figure in the Sexy Boys gang.
His list of clients also include alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and businessman Irshaad Laher, who is accused of selling illegal guns to gangsters on the Cape Flats.
In 2014, Hassan’s family home in Lansdowne was pipe bombed while his family was inside sleeping.
Hassan was at the family-owned supermarket, Hassan Brothers Superette in Lansdowne Road, at the time of the attack.
On Tuesday, hundreds of mourners, including colleagues and prominent clients, gathered at the family home in Roy Road, Lansdowne.
Stanfield arrived at about 3pm, wearing a bulletproof vest and surrounded by henchmen.
Former gang boss turned Khoisan chief, Ernie “Lastig” Solomons, was also spotted in the crowd.
Solomons, who was dressed in full Khoisan attire, did not want to speak to the media.
Two other suspected kingpins, brothers Colin and Jerome Booysen, said to be linked to the Sexy Boys gang, arrived at the house with armed bodyguards.
Crime activist Hanif Loonat, who attended Hassan’s janaazah, believes the attack was a planned hit.
“I believe it was a hit meant for him. It was someone who knew his daily routine,” Loonat tells the Daily Voice.
“Someone who knew he goes to his home to switch on his lights and feed his fish.”
Loonat adds: “When they started shooting [the police reservist friend] says he ran and could feel the bullets passing him.”
Hassan’s associate, advocate Pete Mihalik, said they had been working together since 1998.
“He always defended every person who needed proper representation, he never discriminated,” a sad Mihalik says.
“He’s taken on causes that may sometimes be unpopular, but with the belief of everyone should have a fair trial.
“He was fearless and he always protected his clients’ rights to the best of his ability.
Mihalik added: “He was a fantastic family man and a great father and everyone will miss him terribly.”
Booth said the shooting should serve as a warning to criminal defence lawyers.
“It is a horrific incident and as criminal lawyers, we work under difficult circumstances. This sends a message to everyone to be very careful.”
After the pipe bomb attack on his house, Hassan, who leaves behind a wife and two minor children, told the Daily Voice he was concerned about the safety of his family.
“I am only doing my job, someone has to do it,” he said.
“My job is to defend people so that’s what I do. I will defend anyone, but I don’t defend child rapists.”
The deceased’s family did not want to comment.