Was South African fitness coach’s murder a HIT? Victim ‘believed people were following him’ family reveals as clients who witnessed the killing via Zoom are given counselling
Lawrence Masinge, a highly popular fitness coach, was shot dead on Zoom in front over 200 viewers
A South African fitness coach shot dead over Zoom may have been targeted in a hit, his family has said as police launch a manhunt for the killer.
Lawrence Masinge, 40, was killed at his home near Pretoria on Wednesday as he hosted an online class, with 200 clients witnessing the murder over Zoom.
Police have yet to reveal a motive for the killing, but family say he had talked about people ‘following him’ and could have been targeted in a hit.
Meanwhile witnesses – some of whom are now seeking counselling – said the killer returned to shoot Masinge in the head after an initial burst of gunfire and ‘lingered’ in the room as if ‘waiting for him to die’.
Masinge’s daughter, who did not wish to be named, told the Daily Sun that her father had previously spoken to her about ‘jealous’ people who had been ‘following him since last year’ – but never revealed who they were.
The trainer’s brother, who the Sun named as Solomon, added that the family is looking into whether he had ‘any enemies’. Meanwhile sister Irene said the killer had only taken Masinge’s phone, suggesting robbery was not the motivation.
One Zoom client, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The South African that the attacker fired ‘multiple shots’ at Masinge before returning to fire more.
‘We were watching a guy shooting multiple times and then he ran back and shot him in the head again three times. It’s like he wanted to make sure he was dead,’ she said.
Others described the killing as ‘cold’ and ‘evil’, while saying the attacker ‘did not feel any pity.’
Masinge’s clients watched in horror as the beloved fitness coach was gunned down live on camera as they scrambled to contact emergency services
Mpho Magwaza, another Zoom client, told EWN that the attacker ‘seemed comfortable and lingered after the shooting’ as if ‘waiting for Masinge to die’.
Police have revealed few details about the incident, other than to say the shooting happened around 7pm Wednesday.
They are appealing for anyone who might have information on the killing to come forwards.
One of Masinge’s clients, Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, was taking part in the training session when the shots were fired.
‘A guy walked in, shot him. People were working out and weren’t aware of what was going on. The guy came back and shot him two more times and ran,’ she told TimesLIVE.
‘Everyone literally watched a lifeless body, frantically trying to get help. This went on for [what felt] like 30 minutes.’
‘He had so many clients and he was growing. The person who shot him was well dressed.’
‘I train with Lawrence all the time. I was traumatised. It was watching murder live on Zoom and there is nothing the people on the other side could have done.’
She described Masinge as ‘contagious’ and energetic adding that ‘He was taking over the fitness world. He was taking it to new heights. People didn’t see a need to sign up for a gym. There is no-one else like him.’
Viewers look on in horror as the murder plays out in front of them during their class
‘He has changed my fitness journey. He was an amazing human being. He just wanted people to do better.’
Other clients took to social media to demand justice for the murdered fitness coach.
One Twitter said: ‘Last night Lawrence Masinge was shot while on a Zoom meeting in the head and the suspects continued to rob the place but the number plate was seen on cameras. Please retweet and help raise awareness about this matter.’
Online users are also using the hashtag ‘justiceforlawrencemasinge’ to make sure the local authorities thoroughly investigate the trainer’s death.
‘Phuthi85’ commented: ‘Last night I witnessed the most horrific scene ever… We were being trained by an amazing trainer Lawrence Masinge and he was brutally murdered live mid Zoom cardio session. I pray for his family to be comforted.’
Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, Masinge was involved in a community programme to encourage youngsters to take part in sports and exercise that was supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The local authorities are appealing to speak to anyone who may have more information about the incident.