Stand-off with police ends in suicide
THE younger sisters of Michael Volkwyn are unhappy that police did not allow them to talk to him before he shot and killed himself yesterday, following a 14-hour stand-off with the police in Hazendal, Athlone.
Volkwyn’s sisters, Diana Williams and Barbara Volkwyn, felt that if they had been given the opportunity to talk to their brother, they would have convinced him to hand himself over to the police.
Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said the drama began when SPCA members, accompanied by law enforcement officers, went to Volkwyn’s house in Albermarle Road on Tuesday evening to remove his 14 dogs.
He said the SPCA’s actions followed a complaint by a tenant who resided in an apartment on Volkwyn’s property, who claimed that Volkwyn’s dogs had attacked her.
Van Wyk said the complainant opened a case at the Athlone police station and the police were ordered to remove the dogs.
Upon arriving at the scene at around 6.30pm on Tuesday, said Van Wyk, “we asked to enter the place and the dogs attacked our members, and the suspect fired a shot that hit one of the policemen in the face, before locking himself inside the house”.
Van Wyk said an attempted murder case had been opened for investigation and the wounded policeman was being treated in hospital.
Yesterday, Volkwyn’s brother Roy, who had flown from Johannesburg to the scene, was given the opportunity to speak to his brother, said Van Wyk.
Roy negotiated with Volkwyn for about two hours yesterday to come out of the house, but he wasn’t able to convince his brother to surrender.
Van Wyk said the Technical Response Team unit, armed with automatic weapons, then moved into the house and a few minutes later two shots were fired. Paramedics rushed inside and declared Volkwyn dead.
“Two shots were fired and the 61-year-old deceased lay on the floor. He shot himself,” said Van Wyk, who refused to elaborate about the first shot that had been fired.
family members blamed the police for the drama that unfolded.
“We believe we’ve been robbed of a life. We wanted to say ‘Michael, we are here’. We told the police we know him better and he would listen to us, but they refused.
“They claim they know his history but they don’t, we know him better. My brother Roy’s negotiations (with police) failed.
“We asked if we could just speak over the megaphone to say we are here, we love him, and they came back and said they can’t do that.
“I believe we’ve been robbed of a human right because we knew he wasn’t coming out,” said Diana Williams, one of the sisters at the scene.
Barbara Volkwyn said the police refused to allow her to speak to Michael yesterday.
Before the police went into the house, Barbara said: “I want to speak to my brother and they are refusing.
“I know for a fact he is not coming out. Once they move in, they’ll kill him. We want to talk to him before they move in.”