Airgun shooting twist

2018-07-19 18:37

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A new account of the death of a 12-year-old Greytown boy who was shot and killed with an air rifle on Monday afternoon suggests the incident may not have been “a freak accident”.

On Wednesday The Witness reported that four boys had been enjoying their last day of holidays together before the start of the new school term when one of the boys was killed when his friend’s air rifle discharged.

Read: Boy dies in airgun tragedy

Senzo Msomi (12) was subsequently declared dead on the farm, but details around the incident were vague.

A relative of Senzo’s, who asked not to be named, said that he was at his place of work in Greytown when he received an emergency call from family telling him to go to the farm where his aunt and uncle live.

He said when he arrived he discovered that his young cousin had been killed.

“The details are still sketchy but I spoke to the other two boys who were with Senzo and they said they had been playing together all day when a scuffle broke out.”

He said the boy living at the main house on the farm then picked up an air rifle and pointed it at the three other boys.

“They said that they ran but Senzo stood his ground and he was hit.

“The boys told me the boy with the rifle pulled Senzo into the house while they ran to get help from a next-door neighbour.

“When she got there, the boys told me he was not breathing or moving but there was no blood so they thought he fainted.

“They even splashed cold water on his face to try and get him up.”

The relative said Senzo’s parents had lived on the farm with their son for the past 10 years.

He said Senzo’s father worked part-time on the farm while his mother is a permanent employee.

He said they were still busy organising funeral arrangements.

He added that Senzo’s parents had taken their son’s death “very hard”, but felt that they could not do much as they live on the farm where the incident took place.

He said Senzo was the firstborn in his family and his two younger siblings are devastated and are confused about where their brother has gone.

“He was a quiet boy but very well-mannered and polite. The whole family is going to miss him.”

Attempts to reach the father of the boy who owns the air rifle were unsuccessful despite numerous calls and WhatsApp messages.

However, Cindy Kidger of Urban House Media called The Witness, saying she had been asked by Sandy La Marque, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, to ask the newspaper to desist from calling the families of the boys because they did not want to speak to the press.

Kidger said the families were distraught and had asked La Marque to intervene.

Senzo was a Grade 6 pupil.

The principal of his school, who asked not to be named, said Senzo and his two friends who witnessed Monday’s incident all attended the school.

She said Senzo “was a quiet child and was always respectful”.

She said the school was monitoring Senzo’s two friends but that they seemed to be coping although they were “very quiet”.

The principal added that there were plans for a memorial assembly.

KZN Education Department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said they would activate the district counselling unit to give the boys counselling and a trauma debriefing.

“On behalf of the MEC, Mthandeni Dlungwana, we send our condolences to the family of the deceased and urge police to work speedily to get to the bottom of this and then take the correct actions,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that police were investigating a case of culpable homicide and that once the investigation had concluded it would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za
• newsed@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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