A police operation turned tragic when the son of a billionaire was shot dead inside his house in Westlands, Nairobi.
Bunty Shah, 32, the son of Bobmil Industries owner Vipin Shah, was shot once through his bedroom’s window by a marksman.
The circumstances of the shooting by masked policemen in an armoured vehicle was not clear but one theory had it that the officers on an anti-terror mission may have stormed the wrong address.
A guard who was seriously injured in the face was admitted to a city hospital.
Witnesses said police in the armoured vehicle and three other four-wheel drive cars burst into the home at the junction of Peponi and General Mathenge roads in Westlands at about 3am yesterday.
The police knocked at the gate but when the guard sought to know who they were, they used the armoured vehicle to force their way through the gate, injuring the guard.
Inside the compound they smashed a door to one of the servants’ quarters and security lights. A grenade safety pin was recovered in the compound but it is not clear if the grenade exploded.
The commotion in the compound awoke Mr Bunty.
His uncle, Kiru Shah, said Bunty was at home with his wife and his six-month-old boy, his mother and grandmother.
Bunty, a licensed gun holder, went to the window of his bedroom on the first floor and fired twice.
“He had heard the commotion and noise in the compound and so he woke up and stood at the window and shot twice in the air perhaps to scare the intruders,” said Mr Kiru.
It was then that one of the officers fired a single shot and hit Bunty in the chest killing him.
The family claimed that Bunty’s wife rushed out and informed the police that her husband needed medical attention.
It was at that point that police realised they were in the wrong compound and instead of helping Bunty, they left, the family added
Bunty was rushed to the nearby MP Shah hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police from Parklands had earlier responded to the scene before the shooting happened when the guards at the gate raised alarm saying gunmen had attacked them.
According to the guards, when the team from Parklands arrived there, they found the 12 masked men armed with rifles who informed them they were police officers on special operation.
“They left the place after they were informed those inside were police officers on a special operation. But we heard gunshots from the compound then we realised (our) boss had been shot,” said a guard on duty who asked not to be named.
Reports later emerged that the officers were on anti-terror mission to arrest a suspect linked to last week’s bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia that claimed more than 300 lives.
No officer wanted to speak on record but insiders said the team was pursuing leads on the suspect but they went to the wrong place.
“That is what we are getting from inside. It could be a wrong theory,” said a police officer.
Another officer claimed the killing could have been well planned and executed for unclear reasons.
Gigiri OCPD Vitalis Otieno confirmed the incident but declined to give more details.
“There was a fatal shooting at the home but we will give you more details later,” he said.
The older Shah died 12 years ago leaving Bunty, the only son and his widow. Bunty was running their multi-billion shilling factory along Mombasa Road in Nairobi.
The factory makes mattresses and padlocks among other household goods. Friends and relatives flocked to the compound and demanded answers from authorities.