Divine intervention: gold cross saves city policeman

2008-04-19 00:00

Call it a stroke of luck or divine intervention, but Clinton Kraamwinkel is living proof that miracles still happen.

The Pietermaritzburg policeman would not be alive today had it not been for a gold cross he was wearing on the day he was shot by armed robbers in Boshoff Street in May 2006. “I’m walking proof that miracles still happen,” he said, admitting that, even though he is not deeply religious, he still believes in divine intervention.

Kraamwinkel, who works for the Flying Squad highway patrol unit, said the cross was given to him by his girlfriend. “I always wear it under my uniform. Only now do I realise just how special that cross is. It saved my life,” he said.

On the day of the shooting, Kraamwinkel was involved in a car chase with armed robbers who had been planning to rob a police station. Kraamwinkel noticed the suspicious vehicle and gave chase. Shots were fired and a bullet struck him just above his bullet-proof vest.

His cross deflected the bullet, which split and punctured his lung. “I didn’t even know that I had been shot … When I struggled to breathe and looked down, I saw the blood.”

He spent almost a month in hospital and with the support of family and friends, has made a full recovery. The bullet is still lodged in his body, as it would be life threatening to remove it. “After my surgery, the doctor put the cross in a bottle and gave it to me. He explained how that cross had saved my life.”

Although he is not bitter about the incident, Kraamwinkel said that he hopes the men who shot him are held accountable for their actions.

“The most important thing is that I’m alive,” he beamed.

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