Bloody end to argument

2017-02-26 19:19
A public works employee and her male relative were critically injured on Friday allegedly as a result of a domestic dispute. The woman’s boyfriend allegedly shot the pair before he shot and killed himself. The incident unfolded on Friday morning in the parking lot of the Pietermaritzburg Public Works department.

A public works employee and her male relative were critically injured on Friday allegedly as a result of a domestic dispute. The woman’s boyfriend allegedly shot the pair before he shot and killed himself. The incident unfolded on Friday morning in the parking lot of the Pietermaritzburg Public Works department. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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A Pietermaritzburg Public Works employee and her relative are fighting for their lives after being shot, allegedly by the woman’s boyfriend, who then turned the gun on himself.

The shooting occurred on Fridayday morning in the parking lot at the Public Works department.

The woman, whose name is known to Weekend Witness was still in a critical condition at Pietermaritzburg’s Mediclinic hospital on Friday afternoon. 

Her male relative meanwhile was also reported to be in a critical condition at Edendale Hospital.

The woman’s alleged boyfriend was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene of the shooting.

Sources told Weekend Witness the woman was driven to work in Prince Alfred Street by her relative.

A man believed to be her boyfriend stopped behind their car at the entrance gate and an argument allegedly ensued.

The man then allegedly followed the woman and her relative into the parking lot, stopping his car next to theirs before pulling out a gun.

The gunman opened fire on the pair, shooting at them in their vehicle.

The woman was shot in the back of the head, in her upper left arm and her hip while her relative was shot in the chest.

The man then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the head.

Paramedics and police soon swarmed the quiet office building where paramedics began working to stabilise the injured pair.

A source said the woman had sustained a bullet wound to the head with the bullet allegedly lodged in her brain.

She was also shot in her left arm, her humerus bone was shattered and the bullet exited through her chest.

She was shot a third time in her upper leg with the bullet exiting through her left buttock cheek.

The source said she was unconscious when paramedics began working on her.

“She was slumped over in the passenger seat and her body was leaning toward the door,” said the source.

“The relative was seated in the driver’s seat and was conscious.”

The source said the alleged shooter was found inside his car, slumped against the passenger door with a single bullet wound to the head.

ER24 spokesperson Russell Meiring said in a statement yesterday that both the woman and her relative were treated with advanced life support interventions due to the critical nature of their injuries.

The woman was put on to a ventilator at the scene and rushed to Pietermaritzburg Mediclinic while the relative was taken to Edendale Hospital.

With the department’s security on high alert, the gates stayed closed to anyone who wasn’t police, a paramedic, or an employee of Public Works.

From outside the security gates, singing and crying could be heard as a state mortuary van entered the guarded premises.

Although the relationship between the employee and the alleged shooter could not be officially confirmed, multiple sources said the two were romantically involved.

KwaZulu-Natal Public wOrks spokesperson Kiru Naidoo called the shooting “distressing” and said it was understood that the incident was connected to a personal matter.

“Both police and Public Works security staff are investigating the matter.

“The incident is unconnected with any official Public Works matter and is understood to be of a personal nature.

“Staff members traumatised by the incident have been offered professional counselling services by the department,” he said.

It is believed that the employee had been working in the health and safety unit of Public Works and had been an employee for the past 12 years.

It is also believed that she is 38 years old.

Pietermaritzburg Mediclinic spokesperson Reshnee Beekrum said the woman was immediately taken to the hospital’s emergency centre before being rushed to ICU. She said the woman had not yet been to theatre for surgery as of yesterday afternoon and was “fully ventilated” and “very critical”.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said the injured woman’s relative was rushed to Edendale in a critical condition and was still conscious when he arrived at the hospital.

KZN Health Department spokesperson Desmond Motha said the relative had been operated on and was in a critical but stable condition.

KZN police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala said the motive for the shooting is unknown at this stage and that two counts of attempted murder and an inquest are being investigated by Pietermaritzburg police.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu was “disturbed” that the incident took place a day after the provincial prayer for peace in the province, his spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said.

“This is shocking. The premier is worried by the proliferation of firearms in the province,” said Sibiya.

“We are a traumatised society which was ravaged by political violence … the premier is calling on leaders of society and the community at large to rid the province of illegal firearms,” he said.

“The premier will be delivering his state of the province address on Wednesday.

“He is expected to present a plan on social cohesion, moral regeneration and the reconstruction of the soul,” said Sibiya.

Friday's shooting followed the brutal murder of a Pietermaritzburg policewoman allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend last December.

Sergeant Thabisile Penelope Zondi (41), who was stationed at Plessislaer police station, was beaten to death with a pickaxe handle.

It was alleged at the time that the attacker often argued with Zondi and was known to be abusive towards her.

In another incident in April last year, a local policeman was charged with shooting dead his wife, advanced midwife at Edendale Hospital Thabisile Doyisa (46).

Doyisa had just arrived home from her shift when she was shot in her head at point-blank range with an R5 rifle.

Commission of Gender Equality spokesperson Javu Baloyi said the commission highly condemned such attacks.

He called on people in abusive relationships to speak up immediately and go to the police or any other authority when the first threat is issued by a partner.

“We also call upon the authorities to take harsher measures by sentencing abusive partners to longer jail sentences. It is of no use if they are arrested and released immediately to attack again,” Baloyi said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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