Luke Fleurs, South African soccer star and Olympian, killed in hijacking at gas station

South African footballer and Olympian Luke Fleurs was killed in a plane hijacking in Johannesburg, his club Kaizer Chiefs announced on Thursday.

The 24-year-old defender was shot dead while waiting for treatment at a petrol station in the Johannesburg suburb of Honeydew, according to police.

“Luke Fleurs tragically lost his life last night during a plane hijacking in Johannesburg. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” Kaizer Chiefs said in a statement.

According to police spokesperson Mavela Masondo, the attackers fled in Fleur’s vehicle and police were investigating a case of murder and carjacking.

“The suspects pointed a gun at him and forced him out of his vehicle, then shot him in the upper body. One suspect left in the victim’s car, followed by his accomplice” , Masondo said.

The footballer was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, he added.

Authorities announced they had opened an investigation into murder and carjacking. A manhunt for the suspects is underway. No arrests have been made.

Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa paid tribute to Fleurs on social media.

“I am saddened that another life has been cut short due to violent crime. My thoughts are with the Fleurs and Amakhosi family, and the entire South African football fraternity,” he said. wrote on social networksreferring to the Kaizer Chiefs team by their nickname.

Flowers has previously played for the national under-23 team, representing South Africa at the Tokyo Olympics. Kaizer Chiefs are one of the best teams in South Africa, having won a record 53 domestic trophies.

Japan vs South Africa: Men's Football - Olympics: Day -1
Luke Flowers Luke of South Africa in action in the Men’s First Round Group A match between Japan and South Africa during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.

ZHIZHAO WU/Getty Images

Flowers is the latest among thousands of people to be victims of deadly hijackings in South Africa, where the murder rate is one of the highest in the world.

The latest official crime statistics from October to December last year showed 5,973 cases of hijacking.

Every day, 31 people are killed by guns in South Africa, according to Gun Free South Africa, a nonprofit organization that advocates for a reduction in gun violence.

Last April, 10 members of the same family – including a 13-year-old – were killed in a mass shooting at their home in South Africa.

AFP contributed to this report.


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