Watch CBS News

Luke Fleurs, South African soccer star and Olympian, killed in hijacking at gas station

Armed attacks on the rise in South Africa
Armed robbery attempts up in South Africa 02:43

South African footballer and Olympian Luke Fleurs has been killed in a hijacking in Johannesburg, his Kaizer Chiefs club said on Thursday.

The 24-year-old defender was shot while waiting to be attended to at a gas station in the Honeydew suburb in Johannesburg, according to police.

"Luke Fleurs tragically lost his life last night during a hijacking incident in Johannesburg. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time," Kaizer Chiefs said in a statement.

According to police spokesperson Mavela Masondo, the attackers fled with Fleur's vehicle and police were investigating a case of murder and car hijacking.

"The suspects pointed him with a firearm and took him out of his vehicle, then shot him once on the upper body. One suspect drove off with the victim's car followed by his accomplice," Masondo said.

The footballer was taken to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival, he added.

Authorities said they have opened a murder and car hijacking investigation. A manhunt for the suspects is ongoing. No arrests have been made.

Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa paid tribute to Fleurs on social media.

"I am saddened that yet another life has been cut short due to violent crime. My thoughts are with the Fleurs and Amakhosi family, and the entire South African football fraternity," he wrote on social media, referring to the Kaizer Chiefs team by their nickname.

Fleurs previously played for the national under-23 side, representing South Africa at the Tokyo Olympics. Kaizer Chiefs are one of South Africa's top teams, having won a record 53 domestic trophies.

Japan v South Africa: Men's Football - Olympics: Day -1
Luke Fleurs Luke of South Africa in action in the Men's First Round Group A match between Japan and South Africa during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. ZHIZHAO WU / Getty Images

Fleurs is the latest among thousands of people who are victims to fatal hijackings in South Africa, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

The latest official crime statistics from October-December last year showed 5,973 hijacking cases reported.

Each day, 31 people killed by guns in South Africa, according Gun Free South Africa, a not-for-profit advocating for reduced gun violence. 

Last April, 10 members of the same family – including a 13-year-old -- were killed in a mass shooting at their house in South Africa.

AFP contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.