Kimberley – A Kimberley father shot himself in the head at the Kimberley Muslim Cemetery on Sunday morning after visiting the grave of a four-year-old family member.
The body of Imaraan “Imo” Hassen was found next to the grave of his cousin’s four-year-old son, Aqeel Hassen, who died of cancer earlier this year.
In a call to Aqeel’s father shortly before he shot himself, Imaraan told his cousin that he was “going” to Aqeel to look after him and that he (Aqeel’s father) should, in turn, look after his children
Imaraan, who was well known in local drifting and spinning circles, on Sunday visited the grave of Aqeel, who died of cancer in March this year. According to family friends Hassen was “very close” to the young Aqeel, who would often join him when he performed drifting and spinning stunts, and he was struggling to come to terms with the death of the boy, whom he considered to be “the son he never had”.
“It was his routine to go and visit the grave of Aqeel every Sunday morning. That is why no one found it suspicious when he left the house,” a family friend said on Sunday.
The supervisor at the Kimberley Muslim Cemetery, Magamat Salie Devajee, who lives on the cemetery premises, said that he heard a loud bang on Sunday morning but did not think much of it.
“At first I thought it was a gas bottle that fell over but saw nothing unusual when I went to look. I only realised that it was a gunshot after Hassen’s cousin showed up at my door and told me that he had received a call from Hassen, who had told him that he was at the grave of Aqeel and that he was going to shoot himself because he did not want to continue living,” Devajee said.
During the call, Hassen apparently told his cousin that he was “going” to Aqeel to look after him.
Devajee and Hassen’s cousin found him, with a gunshot wound to the head and a pistol in his hand, next to Aqeel’s grave, still breathing.
A cigarette butt, a half-smoked cigarette and a piece of paper, with a note written by Hassen, were discovered next to him.
The note apparently stated that Hassen was struggling emotionally and financially and did not know where to turn or whom to talk to. “We saw that he was still alive and I removed the pistol from his hand, fearing that he might be able to pull the trigger. We called an ambulance and they took him to the hospital. However, he did not look like he was going to make it… he had lost a lot of blood,” Devajee said.
As family members gathered around his bed in the Kimberley Hospital on Sunday, doctors declared Hassen brain dead and eventually turned off the life support system at around 1.30pm.
Hassen leaves behind his wife and three daughters.
Police spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel, Dimakatso Mooi, on Sunday confirmed that police were called to the scene at about 7.45am, following a shooting at the Muslim Cemetery.
“A 46-year-old man apparently shot himself in the head. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition where he later died. The circumstances surrounding the incident are not yet known and the police investigation continues,” Mooi said.