Police captain killed, commissioner wounded in Rosebank

2011-08-02 08:30

A police clerk shot dead a police captain and wounded the Rosebank police station commissioner yesterday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

At 3.45pm the officer entered the Rosebank Police Station, went into the station commissioner’s office and shot her and a colleague, he told reporters at the police station in Joburg.

“He went in with what seemed to be a service pistol, a handgun.”

The commissioner was airlifted to hospital in a critical condition, and was undergoing emergency surgery.

The captain and the clerk, who turned the gun on himself, both died on the scene. Their names would not be released until their next of kin were informed.

Mthethwa could not say if the man was on duty or suspended. He was found guilty of mishandling firearms at a disciplinary hearing last week.

“He was going through a process for some wrongdoing relating to firearms...The member was responsible for guarding firearms at the police station...He was not supposed to have one [firearm] but he did,” he said.

No further details were provided on the hearing, or the clerk.

“It’s a tragedy, and some of these things you cannot plan for. In this case, we think all hell broke loose when the member found out he was going to be fired.”

What was more “disturbing” was the fact that both the commissioner and captain were women, said Mthethwa.

“So he shot at ladies.”

A police general, who declined to be named, said it was unclear how many shots were fired.

“The firearm can take 15 bullets but it was found empty,” he said.

It was not clear if the shooter came with a fully loaded gun.

Earlier, dozens of onlookers and residents gathered on Sturdee Road, where the station is situated.

The road was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape and armed police stood at various points.

People wanting to open police cases were turned away, and told that the station was closed.

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