Bassoo’s family in shock over murder
By Nigel Williams
January 21, 2003
One day after her husband, Ralph Bassoo, was brutally gunned down by bandits at his Better Hope home, Shireen Khan was yesterday still in shock trying to deal with his loss.
Khan was shot in her leg just after she watched in horror as one of the six bandits who stormed their business on Sunday pumped at least two bullets into her husband’s head. Just before that, Bassoo had appealed to the bandits to stop beating her.
Yesterday, the grief-stricken widow told this newspaper that the events of Sunday incident were still fresh in her mind.
“I am continuing to remember everything that happened, especially when they shoot Ralph.”
According to the woman who has been living with Bassoo for over 14 years, she never thought that he would have passed away with the bullet wound he received. “I thought he would have made it, but when they took him to the hospital and I see the amount of blood he lose I started to think a little differently.”
Bassoo was shot in his grocery.
While, she was very grateful that her life had been spared, Khan said she will miss him dearly.
“I will miss my husband a whole lot, Ralph was a very good person.”
Nineteen-year-old Chris Khan, Khan’s son and Ralph’s foster son said “since I was 4-years-old Ralph took care of me now I am 19 years.”
Chris recalled that sometimes Ralph would leave himself in need to satisfy some of his desires. He said that Bassoo had a lot of confidence in him and as such he was sometimes left in charge of the family business.
He related that he was at a wedding at about 3:30 pm on Sunday when one of his friends broke the sad news to him.
“I began to cry right away”. Chris remembered his foster father as a very good person. “For over 14 years he and my mother have been living together, he spent most of his days behind his business and at home with his family.
Bassoo leaves to mourn two brothers, Ronald and Roy Bassoo and seven sisters. Relatives began erecting a tent in front of the yard yesterday for his wake. He is likely to be buried before Friday.
On Sunday, around 2:45 pm, six unmasked bandits pulled up in front of the businessman’s premises and immediately began firing gunshots in the neighbourhood, sending residents scampering for cover. Three of them later went into the businessman’s house where they terrorised and severely battered him and his wife.
On their way in, a taxi driver was about to park his car somewhere in front of Bassoo’s gate. On seeing him one of the bandits accosted him, took away his car keys and threw them away. The taxi driver said he immediately jumped out of his car and ran into a neighbour’s yard.
Apart from slaying Bassoo and injuring his wife the bandits made off with an undisclosed sum of cash and jewellery. The police recovered a quantity of spent shells from high-powered weapons at the scene. Earlier reports suggest that the silver grey Showtime taxi HA 7700, which the bandits had used to commit the crime, was hijacked. A policeman had said on Sunday that the driver of the taxi told the police that he was hijacked by the bandits, taken around the city and then to Better Hope. After the robbery he was forced to drop off the bandits in Buxton and was then let go.
It is unclear what the taxi driver was doing during the robbery. Some residents in the area said that the car was empty at the time of the shooting and murder in Better Hope.
Police had taken the car and the driver into custody at the Sparendaam Police Station. Reports are that the car is still in custody but nothing was said about the driver.
Bassoo who had also operated a grocery stall at the Plaisance market was a member of the Plaisance Catholic church. Police are continuing their investigations.