After fleeing gunmen from his Maloney Gardens home town, Akino Suya was still tracked down by them, followed to the St Helena branch of KFC and shot dead by two men.
According to reports, the shooting took place around 10.30 pm while the fast food outlet at St Helena Junction was filled with customers. Eyewitnesses told police two men entered the restaurant and walked towards Suya, who was standing in the line waiting to place his order. One of the men drew a gun and fired at him. Suya was shot five times.
Suya originally lived at Building 5 Maloney Gardens but had moved away for the sake of his two children, a 13-year-old boy and girl, 10. Police said he was known to have left Maloney to “hide out” from the criminal elements.
Yesterday, his relatives said he was cornered and killed after he decided to break his three-month long diet to indulge in something “quick to eat”. Suya, 38, was on his way to his new Madras Road, St Helena home on Saturday night when he stopped off at the KFC outlet and was killed.
Police have confirmed that the suspects, whose pictures have been circulating on social media, are from Maloney and they believe his killing may have been a hit. A 13-second video of the killing is also circulating on social media.
Suya’s aunt-in-law Natasha Quinim said he was killed by cowards who waited for him to turn his back to kill him. She said he was a contractor who worked with the Housing Development Corporation and would often speak out against gun violence, which she believes is why he was killed. She said he once threw Christmas parties for children in Maloney but that was stopped because of escalating gun violence in the community. While he had moved out of the area, Suya was said to have still spent a lot of time in Maloney.
“He was not in any gang, he was always with his children and he had nothing to hide. He did not like the war in Maloney and was against it. Nobody could say he was involved in that because he used to talk to the youths in the area about the gang violence,” Quinim said.
“He kept an order in the area. They killed him because he wanted to keep peace, while they wanted war. Right now the family is being strong for the children, because the son not speaking.”
She advised the youths throughout the country to “stop and ketch yuhself,” adding it was only people of one race, African descent, who had been continuously murdering each other.
In a media release yesterday, Prestige Holdings Ltd, the KFC franchise holder, said it was shocked and horrified by the murder.
“We regret that some of our customers and staff were exposed to this traumatic event. We have cooperated fully with the police and are providing counselling to our staff who may have been adversely affected by the event,” it said.
“Fortunately, none of our staff or any other members of the public were physically injured. The St. Helena restaurant reopened today (yesterday), but was closed on Sunday to facilitate the police investigation and allow a proper and thorough sanitation of the store.”