Cop fight­ing for his life after farm shoot­ing

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

A 41-YEAR-OLD po­lice sergeant con­tin­ues to fight for his life in a Kim­ber­ley hos­pi­tal after he was shot in the face by a Koffie­fontein farmer. The farmer also shot and killed his neigh­bour and an­other po­lice of­fi­cer dur­ing a shootout on the farm Dassieskop near Koffie­fontein.

The shootout was ap­par­ently sparked by an on­go­ing feud over wa­ter be­tween the two farm­ers.

Paul Nel, 60, from the farm Dassieskop, was shot and killed by, Coen­raad Baden­horst, 36, fol­low­ing an ap­par­ent on­go­ing fam­ily feud, with Baden­horst ap­par­ently threat­en­ing to kill Nel on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.

The Nel fam­ily ap­par­ently con­fronted Baden­horst, al­leg­ing that he was steal­ing wa­ter by il­le­gally di­vert­ing wa­ter from the Ri­etriv­ier, to his farm. The two fam­i­lies had be­come em­broiled in a le­gal bat­tle over wa­ter, which ap­par­ently drove Baden­horst “over the edge”.

Shortly be­fore Thurs­day’s shootout, Baden­horst was ap­par­ently in a Koffie­fontein pub, say­ing that he was go­ing to shoot Nel.

At around 11pm on Thurs­day evening, War­rant Of­fi­cer Groe­newald from the Koffie­fontein po­lice, was on blue light pa­trol with farm­ers when she re­ceived a mes­sage about a sus­pi­cious ve­hi­cle at the Dassieskop Farm in the Koffie­fontein dis­trict.

She re­alised that the ve­hi­cle be­longed to Baden­horst, who pre­vi­ously threat­ened Nel.

“While on the way to in­ves­ti­gate the com­plaint, Groe­newald called Nel to in­form him to be cau­tious. How­ever, while talk­ing to him on the phone, she heard noises and Nel’s phone went dead,” Free State po­lice spokesper­son, Colonel Thandi Mbambo, said.

Groe­newald mo­bilised other mem­bers from the Koffie­fontein po­lice sta­tion but on ar­rival at the farm, Nel’s body was found on the front porch with a gun­shot wound to the head.

He was de­clared dead on the scene.

Baden­horst ap­par­ently hid in bushes close to the scene and opened fire as po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rived.

Con­sta­ble Vuyani March, 27, was hit in the head and died on the scene whilst Sergeant Ge­orge Calvert, 41, was shot in the face and rushed to Kim­ber­ley Medi­clinic, where he was yes­ter­day still be­ing treated in the ICU.

Po­lice mem­bers re­turned fire and Baden­horst was shot. He died on the way to hos­pi­tal.

The firearm used by Baden­horst, a hunt­ing ri­fle, was found at the scene.

Mbambo, con­firmed that three counts of mur­der and two counts of at­tempted mur­der are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

The Provin­cial Po­lice Com­mis­sioner of the Free State, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Moeketsi Sempe, ex­pressed his dis­may at the shoot­ing in­ci­dent and passed his con­do­lences to the fam­ily, friends and col­leagues of the mem­ber who was shot and killed.

“It is un­for­tu­nate that we woke to such grue­some and dis­turb­ing news of yet an­other in­ci­dent in Koffie­fontein where one of our mem­bers was killed whilst per­form­ing their duty. I also want to wish the in­jured mem­ber a speedy re­cov­ery.”

Medi­clinic Gariep spokesper­son, Denise Coet­zee, yes­ter­day said that Calvert was still in ICU in a stable con­di­tion.

This is the sec­ond in­ci­dent in which po­lice of­fi­cers from Koffie­fontein had been killed.

In June 2017 the bod­ies of two po­lice of­fi­cers were found at the Koffie­fontein­po­lice Sa­tion.

The bod­ies of Obert Mekoa and David Manjo, both 32 at the time, were found at the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion when their col­leagues re­turned from their evening pa­trols.

Mekoa was shot once in the head while Manjo was shot in the back and in the head.

They both re­ceived State fu­ner­als. No ar­rests have been made yet in con­nec­tion with the 2017 in­ci­dent.

Con­sta­ble Vuyani March. Pic­ture: Face­book

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