Officer shot while helping neighbours

2019-02-27 06:00

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A POLICE officer from Town Hill police station was killed outside his Imbali home in the early hours of Sunday morning after rushing to the rescue of neighbours he believed were under attack.

Warrant Officer Njabulo Mzomuhle Ngcobo (46) was found dead outside his neighbours’ house in Imbali Unit 13 at around 1 am on Sunday.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said Ngcobo had allegedly heard screams coming from his neighbours’ house and had gone to investigate what was happening when he was killed.

“He was in his house with his fiancée when he decided to investigate the screams coming from his neighbours’ house.

“His fiancée heard gunshots and found him dead near their neighbours’ house.

“He had a wound on his head and another on his neck, we are still not sure if the wounds are gunshot wounds or if another object was used to attack him,” said Naidoo.

Brigadier Naidoo said Ngcobo’s service firearm is missing.

For now police are investigating a case of murder, but more charges might still be added, he said. No arrests have yet been made.

Naidoo said national police commissioner General Khehla Sithole condemned the killing and has mobilised high profile police resources in crime intelligence, the Hawks, and forensic experts to track down the killers.

Nonhlanhla Zaca, Ngcobo’s partner who was with him before he was killed, described him as a “wonderful and loving man”.

“He got along with everyone and was very well-known in this community as a police officer and his side job of selling second-hand furniture,” she said.

Bonga Shelembe, Ngcobo’s uncle, said the family were distraught over Ngcobo’s death.

“This was a house he was renting. Most of the family stays in Buffer.

“We got a call around 3 am informing us about the shooting. Apparently three gunshots were heard.

“When we got here there was too much blood and it was hard to say where exactly he was shot,” said Shelembe.

Ngcobo is survived by three children who are all in their early twenties.

Ngcobo joined the South African Police Service in 2000 and has worked in Richmond, Mpophomeni, and died while serving at Town Hill police station. When The Witness, Echo’s sister publication, visited Ngcobo’s home on Sunday morning, family members were busy cleaning spatters of Ngcobo’s blood from the ground and walls of the neighbouring house while other relatives and neighbours prayed that his spirit would find peace.

“He was a hardworking man. He was respected in this community and should have never been killed in this manner,” said a neighbour who asked not to be named.

Shelembe said the family were hopeful that those responsible for Ngcobo’s death would face the full might of the law.

“We want justice for his death and we hope the killers are found fast and arrested,” he said.

No one from the neighbourhood was able to tell The Witness anything about the screams that had allegedly caused Ngcobo to venture out to help.

Reneilwe Serero, spokesperson for Police Minister Bheki Cele, said the minister was aware of Ngcobo’s death and said Cele wanted to re-emphasise that “an attack on a member of the police is a direct attack on the state”.

Serero added that Cele would be visiting Ngcobo’s family during the course of this week.


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