Child shooting: Suspect facing other charges

Lindray Khakhu made his first court appearance this morning in connection with the shooting of Luke Tibbetts.

Protesting Westbury community members demand to see the man arrested in connection with the shooting of three-year-old Luke Tibbetts on 4 August. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - It's emerged a Westbury man accused of wounding three-year-old Luke Tibbetts in a gang shoot-out already has three pending court cases against him.

Lindray Khakhu made his first appearance in the Sophiatown Magistrates Court this morning.

Tibbetts meanwhile remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The toddler was struck by a stray bullet while sitting on his mother's lap at the back of a vehicle transporting them on Saturday.

Police say witnesses pointed out the accused who was arrested in church on Sunday.

The court heard that Khakhu is facing three other criminal cases including attempted murder charges.

Westbury community members attended today's court proceedings and demanded that the accused be denied bail.

A woman says tempers are flaring in the community and residents have threatened to torch the accused's mother's house.

"Residents are angry because they say his mother always takes his side."

Tibbetts's family was not in court today but relatives of the accused closely monitored proceedings.

Khakhu's family left the courtroom covering their faces with jackets and were followed by a large media contingent.

Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane also attended today's court proceedings.

The shooting of the toddler comes just three weeks after the death of four-year-old Taegrin Morris who was killed in a hijacking in Boksburg after he was dragged behind his parents' hijacked car.

SHOOTING HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH GANG FIGHT

The little boy's family says Saturday's shooting had nothing to do with a gang fight, contrary to what the accused's relatives have said.

Tibbetts's uncle Llewellyn Valentines says this was an isolated crime and had nothing to do with gangsterism or drugs in Westbury.

"Luke and his mom were offered a lift and it just so happens that they were caught up in this shooting."

But the sister of the man arrested in connection with the shooting has claimed that members of a gang calling themselves 'Varadors' were looking for her brother moments before the shooting.

"As far as I know my brother is a Fast Gun gang member and a rival gang came to our corner and began shooting."

MAKHURA MEETS WITH POLICE BOSSES

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has met with police bosses at the Sophiatown police station.

The premier has taken urgent steps to deal with the problem of poor policing in the Westbury community.

Angry community members took their concerns to the provincial government on Monday, which prompted Makhura's unannounced visit to the police station.

He is now meeting with senior officers at the station to get to the bottom of what is being done to eradicate gangsterism and other crimes in the area.

"I saw the station commander on Monday, I am very confident that she is providing the kind of leadership that will help us deal with all these issues."