Cops kill knifeman after assault

2010-05-11 00:00

A KNIFE-WIELDING man, who was demanding a bride price of R2 000 back from the woman he was no longer involved with, was shot dead during a fight with police in Howick on Sunday night.

Police had intervened as Bongani Shelembe, who was better known as Gee and ran a tavern in Elandskop, was allegedly assaulting his ex-fiancée, Ntombenhle Vilakazi (27).

She had separated from him after finding out that he had other relationships. It is alleged that he was shot three times as he tried to stab a police officer with a kitchen knife.

The incident occurred at Vilakazi’s house in Mpophomeni township in the presence of Vilakazi’s 85-year-old grandmother, Jane Mbuqe, and her nine-year-old daughter.

“After assaulting Ntom­benhle, he grabbed a kitchen knife on the table and tried to stab a police officer. The police officer shot him and he died instantly,” said Vilakazi’s sister-in-law Jabu Mbuqe.

Vilakazi said Shelembe, who looked drunk, had come to her house to plead with her to restart their relationship. She left him three months ago after finding out that he had other relationships.

“He phoned me from his car outside my house. He asked me to come out, but I refused and he jumped over the fence and forced the door of my outbuilding room open. As he was assaulting me I cried for help and my elder brother called the police,” said Vilakazi.

Vilakazi’s grandmother intervened and asked them to sit and talk things over.

“As I was telling him that I could not go back to him because I did not trust him anymore, he demanded the bride price, which he paid in March 2009, back. Suddenly two police officers came in. An argument between him and the officers ensued, and developed into a fist fight.

“As the fight became serious, I grabbed my grandmother and ran outside the house,” said Vilakazi.

She said while she and her grandmother were outside the house she heard several gunshots.

Mbuqe said she did not hear when Shelembe was shot, but she said she was shocked by the fight, which happened before the shooting.

“I heard Ntombenhle crying outside and asked both of them to come into the house to talk about their problems. But things went out of control and Ntombenhle grabbed me out of the house. Even now I’m still very shocked by the incident,” said Mbuqe.

Vilakazi said she now fears for her life as she suspects that Shelembe’s relatives and friends, who visited her house to look for her yesterday morning, might blame her for the death. She left her home before four men arrived to look for her, she said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the police officer fired a shot after he fell on his back when he was punched by Shelembe.

“As the officer was on the floor, the deceased tried to stab him with a sharp object.

“We have opened an inquest into the matter,” said Mdunge.

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