Pensioner shot by dropped firearm

2008-03-06 00:00

The 67-year-old woman thought to have died from a heart attack in the central post office on Monday after a security guard’s firearm accidentally went off actually died of a gunshot wound.

This was disclosed yesterday after police were given the findings of a postmortem examination of the victim, pensioner Nora Mazibuko of Bulwer. A case of culpable homicide has been opened.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said that when police and paramedics arrived on the scene, there were no signs of blood around or on the body, and no visible wounds.

“It seems that the paramedics concluded that the woman had died of a heart attack, but the body was sent for an autopsy as part of police routine.”

Apparently, the firearm fell out of a pocket in the security guard’s bullet-proof jacket, and was not in the regulation holster as required by law.

When it landed on the floor, the gun discharged once and the victim collapsed.

“So the charge of negligent discharge of a firearm still stands,” said Budhram.

“After further investigations and ballistics tests we will forward the case of culpable homicide to the public prosecutor.”

The guard works for a Durban-based security company that is contracted by the post office.

A spokesman for the post office said an investigation is being conducted and the incident is regretted.

Whether the post office will help the victim’s family with funeral and other expenses will be discussed with the security company, he added.

• Before a security guard can be employed, he or she is required to have a certificate of competence from a registered firearms training school or shooting range, and a police clearance certificate.

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