‘Pa Rassie stopped fighting’; man dies week after headshot in hoof attack

Henry

Rassie Smith, a 69-year-old resident of Andeon in the west of Pretoria, died on Tuesday morning after being shot in the head during a hoof attack exactly one week ago.

RNews previously reported that Smith and his partner, Merle Else, were sleeping when two armed suspects entered their home at around 01:45 last Tuesday.

Else apparently heard something and woke up; when she looked up, the attackers were already in their bedroom. She wanted to scream, but one of the suspects pointed his finger at his mouth and ordered her to shut up.

Smith, who was in bed next to her, woke up shortly after and sat up, after which the suspects fired several shots at him. One of the shots hit him in the head.

Smith initially survived the head shot and was taken to Kalafong Hospital for medical treatment. He died in hospital earlier today due to the severity of his injuries.

Smith’s son, Shaun, explained in a post on Facebook on Monday that his father – who was fit and healthy before the attack – would never be the same again, should he survive the attack.

“The bullet went through Pa Rassie’s head. It entered the left front, and lodged in the right side of his skull. After a 10-hour operation, the bullet was removed. He also lost his right eye due to the damage done. The right part of his brain was pulped where the bullet lodged. The entire front portion of his brain was removed due to the damage from the gunshot wound.

“Father Rassie is not doing well at all. The doctors explained that he would never be the same person again. He will not be able to show any emotions, nor will he be able to move or speak. His brain suffered very serious damage,” the post reads.

Smith’s daughter-in-law, Elzita, says the doctors could do nothing more for her father-in-law.

“His eye was severely damaged due to the gunshot wound and a follow-up operation would be necessary to remove his eyeball and perform reconstructive surgery on his skull. He was on a ventilator and a lot of medication, mostly for the convulsions, pain, blood pressure and sedation.

“He was stable, then critical, then stable, then critical.

“He would never be the same again; some of the doctors said that it would be cruel to do further treatment and operations,” she says.

“The hospital called us this morning at 07:30 and told us that Pa Rassie was not looking well. When we got there, Father Rassie had already passed away. His heart gave in this morning; I think Pa Rassie just stopped fighting.”

She says Smith was much loved and probably would have had many more happy years ahead of him if the thugs hadn’t shot him.

“He was always a man for sports, he always laughed and made jokes and was always full of jokes.

“At school he was the one to talk to if there were problems. He was always there when we needed him. We will miss him terribly.”

Smith is survived by his partner, four children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.