Friends, family reeling from cold-blooded shooting of girl, 12

2016-06-09 07:02

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Our children live in a war zone - Bethelsdorp leader

2016-06-08 14:51

Community members, many of them children, staged a march in Bethelsdorp on Wednesday following the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old girl.WATCH

Port Elizabeth – Her friends and family knew Angel* as a sweet, kind-natured and beautiful girl. On Tuesday evening the 12-year-old was senselessly gunned down inside her own home in Bethelsdorp in an apparent gang-related shooting.

The family were woken up by a loud knocking on the front door. Angel's 43-year-old father refused them entry, so the men went round to the back of the house, kicked in the back door and forced their way inside, guns blazing, while the father tried to hold them off.

A single shot from one of the intruders' guns hit Angel in the face, the bullet going through her cheek and into her skull, killing her instantly.

Her father now lies in a critical condition in ICU with four gunshot wounds; one to the neck, the others to his abdomen, hip and leg.

The mother, who was not injured in the attack, sobbed uncontrollably as she was consoled by friends and family, at one point clutching a photo of Angel tightly in her hand. She was not able to speak to the media.

Angel went to Strelitzia Primary School, where the news of her death rocked pupils and teachers. Her friends and classmates streamed in and out of the house throughout the day, many in tears, to share their condolences with her mother.


The police, in a statement, said no motive has yet been determined for the shooting, but many in the community believe that it was gang-related. The family home is directly opposite the house where well-known gangster Donovan "Staal" Berry, 47, of Salt Lake, died in a hail of bullets on May 3.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said she did not want to speculate on the possible motives of the attack, but requested that the family names be withheld to protect them.

A large group of learners, teachers and community members gathered outside the house shortly after noon on Wednesday to show their support for the family and called for action against gangsterism in the area.

The protesters, the majority of which were Angel's fellow learners, marched up and down the road outside the house brandishing signs that read "Enough is Enough" "Ons is Moeg [We are tired]" and "Waar's ons Toekoms, hou op skiet! [Where's our future, stop shooting!]"

Marchers called out to men on the street, asking them where the fathers were. They said it was time to take back the streets from gangsters.

"How many more children need to die?" shouted an angry woman.

Where were the police?

A tense stand-off between the community and police took place after a police officer arrived and asked the group if they had requested permission to hold the march.

"Where were you when they shot this girl?" yelled out one resident. "Why do you only come here now, why haven't you done anything to catch the murderers?" yelled another.

"What we want to know from the police is, why if you know there are hotspots in the Northern Areas, why after so much time, are they still hotspots. Why have you not gone in and cooled those areas down? If you do not go, we as the community will go," said one.

The group then chased the officer back to the patrol car before community leaders calmed the situation down.

Community leaders indicated that a prayer meeting would be held outside the house on Wednesday night, and that they would discuss taking further action to draw attention to the ongoing gang violence in the Northern Areas.

"Police condemn this attack and senseless killing of an innocent child in the strongest terms.  All means possible will be used to thoroughly investigate this case and bring the culprits to book," Naidu said.

*Angel is not her real name. Police have asked for the identities of the family not to be released.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  crime

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