Harrismith dominee dies, wife injured in execution-style attack

2012-11-10 00:00

POLICE are hunting for two men, part of a three-member gang, who shot two men and a woman execution-style, in a Dutch Reformed Church mission house in Harrismith.

It is alleged that the gang locked son Martin Brits (25) in a bathroom, before shooting Reverend Willem Brits (60), his wife, Dorothea, (59) and Gerhardus Vermeulen (25), their daughter’s fianceé.

Daughter, Thea (24), who was outside at the time of the Thursday night attack, called police when she found her family in a pool of blood.

Vermeulen was declared dead on the scene, while Brits and his wife were rushed to hospital, where Brits died yesterday morning.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mmako Mophiring said that shortly after the incident police spotted one of the alleged attackers near the freeway. The 30-year-old from Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga had blood on his shirt and was found with a cellphone belonging to one of the family members, as well as a firearm that belonged to the minister’s relative.

Among the last people to see the family before the attack were Gawie Petersen and Yolandi Muller, who were due to be married by Brits today. Hours after they left following their final pre-wedding meeting, at which Brits joked with them by pretending to forget the time of the service, the couple heard the news of the attack and rushed back to the house.

Muller rode in the ambulance with Brits on the way to hospital.

Brits had been in Harrismith for 32 years. Family spokesperson the Reverend A.K. Scherrer said the community was very shocked.

“He had a feeling for people,” he said of Brits.

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