Charl Kinnear killing: Witnesses heard gunshots, found top detective slumped behind the wheel

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A tow-truck arrives to remove the white sedan in which detective Charl Kinnear was killed.
A tow-truck arrives to remove the white sedan in which detective Charl Kinnear was killed.
Murray Williams, News24
  • Bishop Lavis residents say they heard multiple gunshots on Friday afternoon.
  • This was just before high profile police investigator Charl Kinnear was found dead behind the wheel of his car, near his home.
  • Colleagues and neighbours at the scene recalled fond memories of Kinnear.

"It was just after 3 o'clock - we heard three shots," a Bishop Lavis resident said on Friday."No Mommy, four shots," a young child interjected. They were among the crowd in Gearing Street, the home of police detective Charl Kinnear - where he died behind the wheel of his sedan around 15:00 on Friday.

Nearby, a policeman said softly: "He was my friend for 30 years..." Behind the official facade, a tear rolled.

The crime scene was cordoned off by multiple layers of police security, to keep it undisturbed.

READ | Top detective Charl Kinnear shot dead

Many of the Western Cape SAPS' most senior officials - including head of detectives Major-General Jeremy Vearey - held intense discussions close to the death-site.

Spokesperson for the Provincial Commissioner, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, asked that detectives be permitted to investigate - and would not speculate on motives.

"He was a very good, personal friend," said a neighbour. "He would play soccer with his children in the street, he would talk to the community. He was so passionate about his work."

Another resident admitted: "Yes, we actually were scared, living near to him - because he was so high-profile. We had lots of scares."

"I don't know why they took his protection away. They used to be here outside his house, 24/7. They would park one of those Nyalas here, with guards and cameras and everything. In different shifts."

Charl Kinnear shot dead
The scene outside the house of Charl Kinnear who was killed outside his Bishop Lavis home.
Charl Kinnear shot dead
A police vehicle parked close to the house of Charl Kinnear who was killed outside his Bishop Lavis home.
Charl Kinnear shot dead
Police officers outside the house of Charl Kinnear who was killed outside his Bishop Lavis home.
Charl Kinnear shot dead
The scene outside Charl Kinnear's house in Bishop Lavis.
Charl Kinnear shot dead
The scene outside Charl Kinnear's house in Bishop Lavis.
Charl Kinnear shot dead
The scene outside Charl Kinnear's house in Bishop Lavis.

One man told of how he had heard the shots.

Alive

He had run to the vehicle from his home."I saw him. I couldn't tell if he was still alive. But I stood by him... He was my friend for a very, very long time."I could call him to help me - day or night - and he would help me."

Shortly after the shooting, News24 received a call from a sobbing woman, pleading for assistance.

Later, she sent this message: "Good day. I am the spouse of a police officer who is in a similiar position as the late Col Kinnear that [sic] was shot and killed today. We are worried as there is a threat on my husbands life also and thus far we received no support from SAPS."

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla John Sitole, expressed outrage at Kinnear's death. 

He tasked Western Cape police commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata to immediately mobilise the 72-Hour activation plan.

This was a plan to mobilise critical departments including Crime Intelligence, Forensic Experts, the Hawks, and Tactical Units to ensure that evidence or information that could assist in the successful investigation of this case is not lost.

"We are all saddened by this tragic untimely loss of Colonel Kinnear and his murder is huge loss to South Africa and its people," said Sitole."The South African Police Service will not rest until those responsible for his murder are brought to book."

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