Westbury mother killed in gang crossfire buried

Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (STRINGER / AFP)
Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (STRINGER / AFP)

Heather Petersen, 45, the mother who was shot dead in crossfire between gang members in Westbury on September 27, was laid to rest on Saturday.

The funeral took place at the AFM Church in Westbury and she was buried at the West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg.

The eulogy in the funeral letter for Petersen reads: "You taught us love and how to fight, you gave us strength, you gave us might."

News24 reported earlier that Petersen was walking her son home from school, as the school holidays were about to begin.

She was shot several times, at point-blank range, in the face, and died in a pool of blood.

Residents say she pushed aside a young child, possibly her son, when the shooter approached. The child suffered a bullet wound to the leg, but survived.

Petersen's death sparked violent protests in the suburb that saw police fire rubber bullets at protesters on Monday. Eight people were arrested for public violence.

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday launched a Tactical Response Team (TRT) at the Westbury Sports Centre, following a spate of gang-related killings in the area.

Cele said there had been 36 gang-related deaths in the past financial year and 33 in the current financial year.

"We are sick and tired. They [gangsters] should be the people dying here," Cele said.

The minister added: "Go sleep peacefully. They [the TRT] will look after you."

By Friday, protests had spread to Ennerdale and Eldorado Park, but these were mostly peaceful.

Police, however, remained on high alert, EWN reported.

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