Boy, 11, caught in gang crossfire in Cape Town has died

An 11-year-old Cape Town boy who was hit by a stray bullet in Parkwood, Cape Town, has died.

News24 received confirmation from the family on Tuesday afternoon that young Nehemia Claasen succumbed to his wounds after being rushed to hospital the previous day.

Nehemia, a Grade 6 pupil at Parkwood Primary School, was at Red Cross Children's Hospital when he died.

Initial reports suggested he had been hit by a bullet fired during a clash between local gangs.

A source close to the tragedy also confirmed the news as correct.

A message from Parkwood Primary School read: "I spoke earlier to Nehemia's mom… Our deepest and sincere condolences on the loss of a wonderful, quiet, respectful, young, gentle soul and 'angel'. Nehemia Claasen – our hearts at Parkwood Primary ache with the devastating news of his passing and loss to the world. We continue to pray for God's blessings of strength, peace and comfort on his parents and the family."

On Facebook group Parkwood Community Matters, local residents paid tribute to him.

One man, Adiel Petersen, wrote: "Rest in peace little boy… I grew up in the 'Wood… but it was never this bad … may ALLAH protect all our kids."

Pastor Paul Phillips, a local community leader, told News24: "It's a sad day for the community. We've lost another young boy in the prime of his childhood years. It's a sad loss, it's a sad loss … we are shaken. The community is very emotional.

"We once again want to call on the authorities – those who have a constitutional mandate to serve to protect, to watch over our communities," Phillips urged.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the shooting, and was due to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday once he had been charged, the police previously said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed to News24 Nehemia had died – and the criminal charge would now be changed to murder.

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