Kimberley — After surviving a heart attack less than two weeks ago, a Kimberley doctor was shot dead in his home during an apparent armed robbery early on Monday morning.
It is believed that 53-year-old Muhammad Numan Lateef, the Acting Head of Neurosurgery at the Kimberley Hospital, was shot at close range in the head and died instantly after a group of four to five robbers gained access to his house in Hugo Street, Monument Heights.
The incident, which comes only two weeks after Lateef, who originally hails from Pakistan, survived a heart attack, has sent shockwaves through the entire city, and especially the local Muslim community, of which Lateef was an active and respected member.
It is believed that the robbers first entered the bedrooms of Lateef’s children, two boys and a girl, who were asleep at the time, and tied them up on their beds, before moving to the main bedroom, where they also tied up his wife, Sadia.
It appears as if Lateef resisted when they tried to tie him up and he was shot in the head.
While the children could hear their mother’s screams, they were left powerless.
After Lateef was shot, the robbers reportedly spent another 30 to 45 minutes ransacking the house and outbuildings, escaping with cellphones and laptops.
The incident occurred around 2am, but none of the shocked neighbours on Monday reported hearing shots or anything out of the ordinary.
Lateef was on sick leave at the time, still recovering from a heart attack he suffered two weeks ago and undergoing emergency surgery in Bloemfontein to have a stent inserted.
After Lateef’s wife and children managed to free themselves, they called for help at around 3:30 am and the police arrived shortly afterwards.
At the scene early on Monday morning, the leafy suburb of Monument Heights and the quiet Hugo Street was a flurry of activity, as police and pathology personnel started their investigation and gathered evidence.
A large contingent of men dressed in traditional Muslim attire gathered outside the house and watched as Lateef’s body was taken away in a pathology vehicle around 8 am.
His two young sons, visibly traumatised, were taken for counselling, while his daughter remained inside the house with her mother, who was supported by several other women.
Lateef was to be buried late on Monday afternoon at the Muslim Cemetery in Kimberley, in accordance with Muslim tradition.
One of Lateef’s neighbours, Antonella Florio-Poone, whose house was also robbed on a previous occasion, informed the police that there were security cameras pointing towards Lateef’s house, however when these were inspected it was found that they were not recording at the time of the incident.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Mohale Ramatseba, said they could not “reveal much about the modus operandi of the incident” and only stated that “police were investigating a case of a house robbery and murder after a 53-year-old man was fatally shot at his house in Hugo Street, Monument Heights, Kimberley”.
“The incident happened during the early hours of Monday morning. The deceased and his family were asleep when armed men stormed into their house,” Ramatseba said.
At the time of going to press no arrests had been made yet.