Residents of Saujanya Society at Andheri, where retired Customs officer Harish Marolia (65) shot Hemani Mehta (14) on Thursday, are in a state of shock.
Nishant Shende, a witness who stays in a neighbouring building, said: “Marolia first fired two rounds into the air, creating panic. It was such a horrible experience — everybody ran for their lives.”
Shende said that Marolia, after threatening society secretary Deepak Patni and others, who objected to his alleged misbehaviour, was returning to his third-floor flat when he saw Mehta. He dragged her along with him, and when residents tried to stop him he fired a round into a wall to scare them away.
The neighbours then alerted the police.
Another witness said Marolia had been walking about in the area with a gun since 9.30 am. “Initially, everyone thought it was a toy gun, so nobody took him seriously. This offended him. It was only after he fired that we realised it was real,” said the witness.
Romil Patni, a Saujanya resident, said: “If the police had not intervened on time, I don’t know how many people Marolia would have killed.”
Jitendra Sutar, who lives in a neighbouring building, rushed to the spot after hearing the gunshots. “It was like another Ajmal Kasab [the lone terrorist captured alive during the November 26, 2008, terror attack] on a killing spree,” he said.