A Scottsdene mother has told how she watched her 6-year-old daughter take her last breath after the child was shot in the chest at the weekend.
Residents held a peaceful protest outside the girl’s home in Pescodia Court on Sunday July 12, calling on gangs to make peace and end gun violence in the community.
Regina Cupido, 41, said her daughter, Gaiylin, 6, was walking beside her on Saturday, July 11 when gunshots rang out in Rusticana Street.
While running onto a neighbour’s property, Gaylin fell to the floor as she held her chest.
“Her hands were full of blood as she laid there searching for air,” said Ms Cupido as she tried to control the quiver in her voice.
Recalling her daughter’s final moments, Ms Cupido said she had been so overcome with shock that she had told her daughter to get up and run, until someone had told her that her child had been shot.
Gaylin was declared dead at Kraaifontein day hospital.
Ms Cupido said her daughter’s death had “shattered” the family, and her 12-year-old brother was taking it hard.
“He blames himself and feels he should have protected her,” she said.
Gaylin was described as an energetic, friendly and an obedient girl with a bright smile. She was in Grade R at Parkdene Primary school.
Ms Cupido said the family was battling financially and funeral arrangements had been placed on hold. She and her partner have both lost their jobs.
“I want to give my daughter a good send-off because she deserves it,” she said.
Ms Cupido encouraged parents in the community to keep their children at home, and she called for gangsters to stop the violence as “innocent lives are taken”.
A resident who did not want to be named said she and religious leaders had marched to homes of “gang leaders” but had been chased away by armed men threatening to shoot them.
“Our intentions were to ask them to put away their guns and come to an agreement, but instead they pulled out the guns and told us to get away,” she said.
She residents weren’t free to move about their own neighbourhood.
“We are not allowed to go into certain areas or visit the shopping centre in Ultra Avenue or they threaten to kill,” she said.
More than 20 people had been shot in the past two months, she said, adding that police arrested suspects only to subsequently release them.
Kraaifontein police spokeman Captain Hein Hendricks said a 24-year-old man was being held at Kraaifontein police station on murder charges and detectives were investigating the case. He said that while he could not give statistics on how many people had been shot and killed during this time, police had made several gang-related arrests.
Kraaifontein police recently established a “gang team” to combat and prevent gang violence in the area.
“Kraaifontein police can however not combat and prevent crime and gang violence on their own and need the assistance of the public,” Captain Hendricks said. “We encourage our communities to get involved and grow their local neighbourhood watch to strengthen the fight against crime and gang violence.”
If you would like to help the family with funeral arrangements contact Regina at 061 5887179.