A murder suspect accused of stealing a police officer’s service pistol allegedly shot himself with the same gun inside a house he had broken into in Mpumalanga. It is not known why the man shot himself but police and paramedics were called, the 31-year-old man was rushed to hospital, where he is under police guard.
According to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the man’s girlfriend was stabbed to death and her body found in a shack in Dullstroom. Hlathi said a police officer went to look for the boyfriend, found him and put him in the car to take to the police station for questioning.
“He was not in handcuffs at the time as he had not been arrested. However, along the way the police officer slowed down the car as he was crossing a railway line and the man allegedly grabbed his gun and managed to escape through the window,” said Hlathi.
Hlathi said days later, on the 26th of February, a businessman was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash at gunpoint. According to Hlathi, reports indicate that the victim had closed his tuckshop and was taking a walk in Dullstroom when the suspect approached him, he then held him hostage at gunpoint and then robbed him of his money before fleeing the scene.
Hlathi said two days later, the victim’s family found an armed man inside their house. While they were still wondering how he had gained entry, he allegedly shot himself.
“Police were alerted about the incident and upon their arrival at the scene, they found him in a pool of blood with the firearm belonging to the police in his hand, but on closer (examination), noticed that he was still breathing,” said Hlathi.
“They also found some ammunition at the scene and observed a broken windowpane in the house, which suggests that the suspect might have used it to gain entry. The suspect was then arrested and medical personnel were summoned to the scene and ferried him to hospital,” he added.
Hlathi said the officers realised that the man was the suspect they were looking for in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, a robbery as well as the attack on a police officer and the theft of this service pistol.
Hlathi also added that the suspect was about to be questioned about a woman who was stabbed to death in Dullstroom when the suspect absconded with the police firearm.
“The suspect is currently facing a charge of housebreaking with intent to commit a crime which is unknown to the State, the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, armed robbery as well as common robbery. Police cannot rule out any possibilities of linking the suspect to other cases and he is expected to appear before court as soon as he gets better,” Hlathi said.