GEORGE TOWN: A Hindu priest had a close brush with death when he narrowly avoided being shot in front of his home in Jalan Satu, Air Itam here last night.
The man, in his late 50s, was watering plants in front of his home around 9.30pm when the incident occurred.
Two men on a motorcycle rode past. One of the men fired off several shots in his direction.
The man, startled, fell to the ground upon hearing the shots.
However, none of the shots struck him.
A neighbour, N. Manju Bhargavi, 23, said she was home with her family just a few blocks away from the victim's house when the shooting took place.
"We heard three loud sounds. I thought it was from a house nearby where a wedding was taking place. I thought it was a firecracker or something.
"About 15 minutes later, I stepped out of the house and saw police patrol cars on the street. It was only then that I realised those were gunshots," she said when met at the crime scene yesterday.
She said she had noticed several suspicious-looking individuals in the neighbourhood a few weeks ago.
A source told the NST that initial investigations suggest that the shots were meant as a warning, and not to kill.
It was alleged that the priest, who is attached to a nearby temple, is plagued with debts.
"It happened at close range. They could have killed him but didn't. So they could just have been warning shots," said the source.
Police have yet to release an official statement on the matter.