Stutterheim shocked by killing of popular businessman

Gagik Ovsepian, who was gunned down in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Gagik Ovsepian, who was gunned down in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Eastern Cape's Stutterheim community is still trying to come to terms with the slaying of well-known businessman Gagik Ovsepian in the early hours of Saturday.

SowetanLIVE's sister publication DispatchLIVE reported that Ovsepian, 56, owner of fast-food outlet Southern Fried Chicken, was gunned down by three men in front of his wife at their Xolora village home. His wife was unharmed.      

Provincial police spokesperson Brig Tembinkosi Kinana said Ovsepian, whose Facebook page states he was from Armenia, died on the scene.

Kinana said three men entered the house at about 3am while the couple were sleep in their bedroom on the second floor. As soon as they woke, the men demanded money from them.

Kinana said the men had gained access through an open window.

“They shot him and took the keys of his silver Mercedes-Benz before fleeing the scene in the vehicle. They also took jewellery and two cellphones,” he said.

Kinana said the vehicle was later found abandoned on the N6 freeway.

No arrests had been made, Kinana said.

The killing has sent shock waves through the town, particularly as Ovsepian was well-known.

His friend of more than 15 years, Stephan Kumm, described him as a humble and genuine person.

“We are still shocked at the ruthless manner in which he lost his life,” Kumm said. “It still difficult to believe he is no more.”

Local PR councillor Richard Pickering said Ovsepian had played a big role in developing the economy of the town.

“We are very sad. He was a good person and did not deserve to die like this,” he said, adding Ovsepian had the best interests of his community at heart.

Kinana said a case of murder and house robbery were being investigated by Stutterheim police.