Cop kills friend by accident, commits suicide

2011-08-29 00:00

A POLICE officer from Mountain Rise police station committed suicide after he accidently shot and killed his best friend at a tavern in Panorama on Saturday night.

Constable Sbonelo Mbhele (31) shot dead Mantshi Dladla (44), apparently while showing him how he used his gun.

Gabo Ngubane, the owner of the tavern where the incident happened, said he was woken up by one of his employees after the shooting. He said Mbhele and Dladla are his friends.

He said he learned that the pair and four other patrons started talking about a man who had been at the tavern and who they believed owned a weapon, saying they thought he was armed.

Mbhele pulled out his pistol to show that he was also armed. He removed the magazine and cocked the gun to check it contained no bullets. He then jokingly pointed it at his friend and pulled the trigger.

But one bullet was still in the chamber. It hit Dladla in the head at close range and he died at the scene.

While others were rushing to find help for Dladla, Mbhele put the magazine back in his gun and committed suicide.

“These two were close friends and what happened to them was tragic. There was no argument between them; it was just an accident,” said Ngubane.

He said he had lost two great friends. “Dladla often helped me with my business and Mbhele was a close friend. I am the lead negotiator for his lobola and we had completed everything and were just waiting for the wedding day and this happens.

“Mbhele was a true gentleman; he committed suicide because he knew that he could not live with his mistake.”

Police have opened an inquest and a murder docket.

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