PMB hero stops crazed attack

2014-08-28 00:00

A HEROIC Road Traffic Inspectorate officer yesterday put his life on the line to stop a crazed vagrant’s stabbing rampage at a city block of flats.

Chaos reined at Silent Heights flats in the usually quiet cul de sac of Burton Avenue as the tramp, who residents believe was in a drugged state, made good on his threats to stab the gardener at the Scottsville high-rise.

The knife-wielding man, who allegedly snuck into the complex while the gate was opening for a vehicle, hurdled himself at a gardener, Lucas Nxele, when he tried to apprehend him.

During a vicious struggle between Nxele and his unidentified assailant, Nxele received multiple stab wounds and injuries to his head.

Recovering in hospital, swathed in bandages, a shaken Nxele told The Witness the vagrant had threatened him before.

“He usually insults me and threatens to stab me when he walks past the flats,” Nxele said. “I was trying to stop him. Something tripped me and I fell. He then stabbed me in my head and my arm. That picture is still on my mind. I want to rest now.”

Hero Delon Gounder, a resident and trustee in charge of security for the complex, saw the tussle from his balcony and heard Nxele’s screams.

He immediately raced down. Gounder, a RTI Special Operations official, also tried unsuccessfully to restrain the attacker. The attacker then turned his 15 cm knife towards Gounder, attempting to stab him.

He retaliated, allegedly firing several shots during the fray, two of which penetrated his own leg.

“Gounder initially tried to stop him using pepper spray as the man tried to stab him too. That did not help.” Nxele alleged that Gounder pulled out a gun and fired shots.

A frantic eyewitness at the scene, Pam Wentzel, said: “I heard a gunshot and when I came out, they were all running. The gardener and Gounder were running around the side of the complex. I heard another shot down that side and then Gounder came running full force towards my way, shouting after the man. The man then turned around and lunged at him with the knife; he was so close.”

She alleged Gounder took out his gun and fired. “Gounder fell to the ground and the guy started stumbling towards the gardener and went down. I hid myself behind the wall because I had my baby in my arms. Gounder may have accidentally shot himself in the leg and the gardener was stabbed in the head,” Wentzel said.

Some claimed the attacker was mentally disturbed. However, a bystander said that the vagrant, known locally as “Bruce Lee”, was a notorious thief. Residents said he was usually under the influence of drugs.

ER24 confirmed that Nxele had serious injuries to the head and Gounder received gunshot wounds to the leg. They were taken to hospital where they were in a serious but stable condition.

Gounder was unable to comment on the ordeal because, he said he was in “too much pain at the moment” from the four holes the bullets had left in his leg.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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