WATCH | Somerset Hospital shooting: Nurse who calmed gunman described as 'guardian angel'


Sister Diane Seale, who started her nursing career back in 1979, says she's never experienced anything quite "as horrific" as the scenes that played out at the New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town at the weekend.

She addressed the media on International Nurses Day following the shooting on Saturday, in which three people - two patients and a police officer - were killed. 

Seale had just started her shift when the shooting happened. She was doing a routine handover when the phone rang: It was a distress call from a colleague.

When she reached the hospital's second floor and saw the police officer lying in a pool of blood, she "thought the worst".

Then she noticed the shooter with the gun in hand, and walked towards him.

READ | Ex-cop appears for alleged hospital killings

"I hugged him. I escorted him into the cubicle. He told me to close the door," she said.

Once in the room, she told him: "There is good in all of us."

Eventually, he agreed that Seale could go ahead and sedate him. And, once he was out cold, the police's tactical unit took over.

Her colleague, Sister Marissa Burnett, who was about to go off duty when the incident happened, described Seale as a "guardian angel".

"We heard loud talking, but didn't think too much of it," Burnett told News24.

diane seale, sister, new somerset hospital
Sister Diane Seale recalls isolating and calming a gunman at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town over the weekend.

But when she heard the nurses shouting, she ran into the passage. 

"I saw the patient and the policeman fighting in front of the ward, but you could see the policeman was hurt," she said.   

The first shots rang out moments later. Burnett sought shelter in the laundry room, where she phoned security. The man was about to leave the ward when Seale intervened. 

"She was our guardian angel at the point. There's no other way to describe her. If it wasn't for her, it could have been so much worse, and she literally saved us from that danger." 

Jean-Paul Malgas, 39, an ex-police officer appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where his lawyer said he was suicidal. 

Malgas faces three charges of murder, a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, a charge of unlawful possession of ammunition, and robbery.

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