Alleged gunman behind Elsies River massacre claims he saw real shooters flee scene

Toslin and Malcolm Junior “MJ” Samuels, 12. (Supplied)
Toslin and Malcolm Junior “MJ” Samuels, 12. (Supplied)

One of the two suspects arrested for a massacre, which saw three children and a teenager being shot to death in a shack in Cape Town last month, insists he had been home when the shots rang out, claiming he had seen the actual shooters fleeing the scene.

Rowan Stuurman, 31, in an affidavit read during his bail application, denied any involvement in the bloodbath behind Northmead Court in Clarke Estate on September 17.

His co-accused, Peter Nokewes, did not apply for bail.

According to Stuurman, he had been at home in Melton Way with friends and his brother at the time of the shooting.

He claimed he and his friends had been sitting in his bedroom when the heard shots being fired at 23:05, adding he had run to a back window and saw two guys running.

Not long after, he decided to put off the lights and get into bed. He was arrested more than an hour later.

When the police arrived at his home, he explained he had an alibi, Stuurman said.

The officer, who had come to arrest him, had relayed this to another policeman by phone, but he was nevertheless taken into custody and charged.

One of the Stuurman's friends, Norman Adams, in an affidavit said he had been at the house where they had "smoked a pipe".

But according to investigating officer Bradley Schuurman of the anti-gang unit, an eyewitness named Stuurman as one of the gunmen, insisting that "Snottas" - as he is known - had also fired at him as he ran from the scene in the direction of his home.

According to the detective sergeant, the witness - who claims to be a reformed gangster - was watching from a window and saw Stuurman running away from the scene.

"He said he shouted, 'Snottas, jou ma se p…s! Wat maak jy?' The suspect had turned around and fired one shot in his direction."

The witness, 33, said he had known Stuurman for about 20 years as they had attended the same primary school. 

Gunmen had kicked open the door of the structure that night, where Bianca Alexander and Mandy Samuels lay in a makeshift bedroom with Samuels' daughter, Toslin, 10, between them.

The shooters are said to have opened fire indiscriminately. Locals claimed to have heard about 50 shots. According to the police, ballistics showed evidence of 33 bullets being fired.

Bianca's son, Adrian "AJ" Alexander, 12, was shot in the neck and Samuels' son, Malcolm "MJ" Samuels, 12, was shot in the face. The boys had fallen asleep on a couch opposite the doorway.

Vineto "CJ" Africa, 19, was killed after he was shot in the face while lying on a bed in the same room as the boys. He is believed to have been the target of the shooting and was a member of the 12 Disciples gang.

Toslin died instantly, while family members told News24 that the women had managed to escape when the shooters were forced to reload after running out of ammunition.

Both women are currently in protective custody.

Schuurman testified that Africa had been hiding out in the shack that night as he was wanted for a shooting in which a member of the 28s had been seriously wounded.

The motive for the murders was believed to be retaliation, Schuurman told the court.

 The witness had previously been a member of the same gang that Africa belonged to.

Stuurman and Nokewes are members of the Terribles, which is affiliated to the 28s.

Both had gang tattoos on their bodies.

The police were looking to force the witness into protective custody as he had received threats, had been assaulted and shot at, sustaining a flesh wound on his leg

Stuurman has one prior conviction for drug possession for which he received a fine.

Schuurman testified that the murders were a result of a turf battle between the warring gangs.

"Three innocent children died because of a fight over territory," he said.

The bail application continues on November 26.

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