One killed as police fire at stone-hurling crowd

2010-11-02 00:00

POLICE, responding to a large crowd that was hurling stones at an arrested murder suspect, allegedly killed one man and injured four people when they fired live ammunition in Richmond outside Pietermaritzburg.

The shooting incident happened in Siyathuthuka area on Sunday evening.

Eye witnesses alleged that police were shooting directly at the people who were running for cover, at about 8 pm.

“As young girls were throwing stones at the suspect one of them hit a police van, then police fired bullets at the people,” said Catherine Zuma.

At the scene yesterday police picked up a number of expended cartridges.

Sources said that the police rounds also hit houses.

“As a result, one man was shot while standing in his yard,” said the source.

The shooting incident followed the fatal stabbing of Bongani Mkhize (35) allegedly by the 53-year-old murder suspect at about 5 pm on Sunday.

Witnesses said the deceased, his girlfriend and a friend, had gone to the suspect’s house to demand the girlfriend’s R3 000.

Inside the house an argument ensued. The suspect’s wife said the three had come to her house to rob her husband.

“They found my husband watching TV and they just switched it off. My husband turned it on and they switched it off, which is where the fight star­ted.

“My husband stabbed both men, but one of them ran away after being stabbed once.

“The deceased put up a fight and my husband stabbed him repeatedly in the chest,” said the suspect’s wife.

Police came to arrest the suspect at about 8 pm. As they led him to a police vehicle, stones were thrown from a crowd that had gathered in front of the suspect’s house.

“They were threatening to burn his housed down. The trouble started when one stone hit a police vehicle. Police just shot randomly and killed one old man, Alfred Mkhize (45),” said Joseph Madondo.

Alfred Mkhize was allegedly killed by a stray bullet. Madondo took three men and a woman to a local clinic where they were transferred to hospital.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said community members instigated the shooting after attacking police with stones.

“Police then verbally warned the crowd to disperse, however, the community fired shots at the police. Police were forced to retaliate and fired warning shots and an exchange of gunfire between members of the community and the police occurred.

“At this stage it is believed that he [Mkhize] may have been hit by a stray bullet during the exchange of gunfire,” said Jeevan.

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