‘iPad shooter’ released on bail

A man who allegedly shot and killed a vagrant after a smash-and-grab robbery has been released on bail by the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrate Aubrey Mphahlele granted Johannes Coetzee (25) R5 000 bail.

He was charged with murder and attempted murder after he allegedly fired several shots at a homeless man on April 30 on an open piece of land along Atterbury Road, near Menlyn, Pretoria.

According to an affidavit by Coetzee, read by his lawyer, Advocate Zirk Pansegrouw, during the bail application, he went to the scene after being told his girlfriend, Lene Praeg (20) had been hijacked.

He discovered Praeg’s valuables, including an iPad, had been stolen.

Coetzee said he tracked the computer’s signal and called police. He flagged down a passing police vehicle and they followed the device’s GPS signal.

“I fired four warning shots into the ground where I believed it would be permissible. I believed the people [suspected robbers] would be armed and dangerous, that is why I had called police.”

Coetzee said he was not sure if any of the police officers with him fired shots, but said he saw an officer “withdrawing a firearm” as they approached.

A homeless man was shot and later died. The matter would continue at the Pretoria Prison Court in June.

Police said officers continued to trace the iPad signal and arrested four men, aged between 16 and 30, in possession of the tablet.

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