South African fitness coach is shot dead in botched armed robbery during a live Zoom exercise class as 200 clients watch on in horror
- A popular fitness coach was shot dead forty minutes into his workout session
- Horrified clients watched as Lawrence Masinge was murdered by gunman
- Mr Masinge was involved in a community programme to encourage young people to take part in sports and exercise
Lawrence Masinge, a highly popular fitness coach, was shot dead on Zoom in front over 200 viewers
More than 200 clients watched on helplessly yesterday as an armed robber shot their fitness trainer in the head and killed him during a live-streamed Zoom training session.
Lawrence Masinge, a fitness instructor from Pretoria, South Africa, who had nearly 4,000 followers on Instagram, was shot dead in a suspected armed robbery in his home located in Saulsville, near Pretoria.
Pictures taken of the incident show a man in beige pants and a black top with what looks like a weapon in his right hand pointed at the instructor, who is lying on the floor.
Another picture shows a woman who is witnessing the incident nearly being brought to tears.
Police spokesperson Lt-Col Mavela Masondo said on Thursday that the motive for the killing was not yet known
One client, who wished to remain anonymous out of concerns for her safety, said she entered the Zoom session at about 6.30pm and heard the first gunshot nearly 40 minutes later.
While taking part in the training session, she ‘heard a loud banging sound’ and ran to see what was happening.
‘That’s when my husband ran to the screen and said ‘this guy is getting shot’,’ she revealed.
She said Zoom participants were trying to find out where Masinge lived and one woman called the emergency services on her phone, adding: ‘Forty minutes later he was still just lying there cold and the police arrived with the paramedics.’
Masinge’s clients watched in horror as the beloved fitness coach was gunned down live on camera as they scrambled to contact emergency services
One of Masinge’s clients, Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, was taking part in the training session when the shots were fired.
‘A guy walked in, shot him. People were working out and weren’t aware of what was going on. The guy came back and shot him two more times and ran,’ she told TimesLIVE.
‘Everyone literally watched a lifeless body, frantically trying to get help. This went on for [what felt] like 30 minutes.’
‘He had so many clients and he was growing. The person who shot him was well dressed.’
‘I train with Lawrence all the time. I was traumatised. It was watching murder live on Zoom and there is nothing the people on the other side could have done.’
She described Masinge as ‘contagious’ and energetic adding that ‘He was taking over the fitness world. He was taking it to new heights. People didn’t see a need to sign up for a gym. There is no-one else like him.’
‘He has changed my fitness journey. He was an amazing human being. He just wanted people to do better.’
Other clients took to social media to demand justice for the murdered fitness coach.
One Twitter said: ‘Last night Lawrence Masinge was shot while on a Zoom meeting in the head and the suspects continued to rob the place but the number plate was seen on cameras. Please retweet and help raise awareness about this matter.’
Online users are also using the hashtag ‘justiceforlawrencemasinge’ to make sure the local authorities thoroughly investigate the trainer’s death.
Viewers look on in horror as the murder plays out in front of them during their class
‘Phuthi85’ commented: ‘Last night I witnessed the most horrific scene ever… We were being trained by an amazing trainer Lawrence Masinge and he was brutally murdered live mid Zoom cardio session. I pray for his family to be comforted.’
Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, Masinge was involved in a community programme to encourage youngsters to take part in sports and exercise that was supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The local authorities are appealing to speak to anyone who may have more information about the incident.