Popular fish exporter Rajendra Sonilall, called ‘Moti’, was gunned down shortly after 19:30 hrs last night outside his Second Street, Mon Repos business place, in what police described as an execution-style killing.
The 43-year-old businessman of Lot 73 Second Street Mon Repos , East Coast Demerara, was shot at close range in the back of the head and in the chest by a lone gunman who arrived and fled on foot.
Sonilall succumbed minutes after arriving at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
Relatives said that nothing was stolen from the victim and the motive for the brazen killing remains unclear. Two .32 shells were recovered at the scene.
Sonilall, who fathered five children, had been operating his business for some 25 years.
A resident told Kaieteur News that she was outside her house when she saw a man, who was wearing a toque, turn east into Second Street, Mon Repos, where Sonilall’s fish processing business is located.
She said that the man then walked past Sonilall, who was sitting at a table near his business place.
But the woman said that the man then turned back and headed towards Sonilall.
She then heard three explosions, and saw the stranger run east along Second Street and disappear north towards the ‘sea dam.’
The eyewitness said that she assumed at first that someone had let off firecrackers, until she saw someone say: “Come…boss man deh pun de ground.”
But another man, who also claimed to have been an eyewitness, said Sonilall was sitting under a stall when a man in hooded shirt drove up and shot him in the head.
“The man really want fuh kill he, because de man shoot he plenty in he head.”
The female eyewitness said that she ran to the spot where Sonilall had been sitting and saw him lying motionless on the ground.
Residents then rushed him to the GPHC where he succumbed shortly after being taken to the Accident and Emergency Unit.
Asked about a possible motive, the slain man’s distraught wife, Rasheeda, was adamant that her husband had no problems with anyone.
However, she disclosed that he had been “worried” because several persons owed him a lot of money.
Another friend also said that Sonilall was owed millions of dollars. He speculated that someone might have wanted the easier way out, which was to kill him. One of the slain man’s daughters told Kaieteur News that her father left home at around 06:00 hrs yesterday. He returned home at around 17:15 hrs to bathe and eat before heading back to his business place, which is located a few buildings from his home. She said that a female resident came to their home to inform them that her father has been shot.
As news of the tragedy spread, several relatives, friends and employees rushed to the GPHC and to the scene of the killing.
None of them had a bad word to say about Sonilall, who they described as a true friend and generous businessman.
According to a relative, Sonilall has been exporting salted fish to Trinidad on a large scale for decades.
He said many fishermen depend on him to buy their fish since he is well known.
“They murder he now what we gon do with we fish? Who we gon go to?” one fisherman lamented.
Relatives confirmed that Sonilall’s business place was the scene of another tragedy last year, after an employee committed suicide on the premises.
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