Mys­tery shr ouds death in pub

‘Gun crazy’ club owner shoots him­self

Weekend Witness - - News - THAM­SANQA MA GUBANE THOBANI NG QULUNGA

THE o wner of a popular Ash­burt on club died in a tragic shoot­ing ac­ci­dent yes­ter­day.

The 44­year­old busi­ness­man ap­par­ently shot him­self in the P ope El­lis Drive pub with his o wn gun.

There w ere c onflicting r eports of how the fa­tal shot came to be fired. One ver­sion was that the man shot him­self while clean­ing his gun.

The other was that he killed him­self in a R us­sian r oulette demons tra­tion.

Po­lice spokesper­son Thu­lani Zwane said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances around the in­ci­dent; the man’s full name was not re­leased yes­ter­day as the polic e said the y did not ha ve it.

It is al­leged that pa­trons at the club were ap­par­ently play­ing a sort of R us­sian r oulette with a BB gun — a t ype of pel­let gun.

The busi­ness­man, who was also the bar­man, al­legedly drew his own firearm and made a c om­ment to the eff ect of “I will sho w you how to play Rus­sian roulette with a pr oper gun”. T he gun went off and he w as shot dead.

Peo­ple w ho arri ved at the sc ene shortly after said he was skilled with a gun and found it dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand how he had shot him­self .

Stu­art Knight, chair­per son of the com­mu­nity polic­ing f orum, said: “It’ s be­lieved that the guy shot him­self while play­ing with his gun. He was very pro­fes­sional with a gun so it’s hard to be­lieve he [ shot him­self ac ciden­tally].” Knight said the man had loved guns. “That guy was crazy over guns … ap­par­ently there were peo­ple there when he shot him­self. When I arri ved there, there were am­bu­lances and lo­cal r es­i­dents,” he said.

The man’s f am­ily de­clined t o c om­ment or iden­tify him. “I am his fa­ther. I will not make any state­ment and I do not want any­thing in the p aper,” said a man at the sc ene.

The man’s fam­ily cleaned up the area where the shoot­ing hap­pened and r emoved his be­long­ing s, in­clud­ing guns and knives. One of the p atrons still at the sc ene c om­mented on the num­ber of weapons be­ing re­moved, say­ing, “He had plent y of those. H e lik ed pla ying with them. He would al­ways pull th­ese [guns] out t o sho w off .” FRUS­TRATED mo­torists were stuck in traf­fic for hours yes­ter­day after an ab­nor­mal truck lost its load on the N3 north­bound jus t out side Piet er­mar­itzburg.

To c om­pound their frus tra­tions, the R103 soon be­came grid­locked too.

Yes­ter­day traf­fic was backed up all the way to the Um­laas Road off­ramp and mot orists had t o en­dur e the scorch­ing Piet er­mar­itzburg heat while the r oad was closed t o sal­vage the lo ad.

One frus trated mot orist w as for­mer tr affic head in Piet er­mar­itzburg, James Mills. “Dur­ing our time when there were such in­ci­dents there was a speed y r esponse,” he said.

Mills said w hen there is an emer ­ gency traf­fic of­fi­cers should be out in their num­bers to in­form mo­torists of what is hap­pen­ing and also t o di­vert traf­fic.

“Of­fi­cers need t o ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate with r oad user s t o en­sur e that peo­ple are aware of what is hap­pen­ing so that the y can mak e other ar­range­ments,” he said.

Mills said dur­ing their time the y had an N3 in­ci­dent man­ual t o as­sist of­fi­cers in a pr ogramme of ac­tion t o take when ther e was an emer gency.

He said offic ers should think ho w they would f eel if the y f ound them­selves in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

RTI spok es­per­son Zinhle Mng omezulu said they had to close the road be­cause a truck ac­ci­dent had blocked the r oad.

“Our of­fi­cers did their be st un­der ex­tremely hot c on­di­tions di vert­ing the smaller v ehi­cles and lea ving the trucks t o en­sur e that ther e w as a smooth flo w of tr affic,” she said.

She said it was easy to blame of­fi­cers, but peo­ple don’ t un­der stand their work.

The road was cleared four hours later. • thob ani.ngqulunga@wit­ness.co.za

PHOTO: THAM­SANQA MAGUBANE

The club in Ash­bur­ton where the owner sho t him­self

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