Johannesburg - Just 10 minutes before the end of the De La Salle Holy Cross College Primary School day, shots rang through the air.
With more than 600 pupils still in class, frightened teachers managed to keep their cool as a crime scene developed outside.
The Victory Park school’s estate manager, Grant Domoney, picked up on his hand radio that a panic button had been pressed by one of the security team.
He rushed outside and saw the school’s health and safety officer, Kobie Taylor, equipped with a first aid kit, attending to a man bleeding profusely in his gold bakkie.
Even though he had been shot three times, the man was still conscious, but fighting through extreme pain.
An ambulance was summoned and Taylor had stemmed the flow of blood pouring from the 53-year-old’s leg and forearm. The ambulance arrived a short while later.
After the shooting, staff inside the school rallied around the young children, trying to keep them calm. Pupils were taken class by class to the school’s main hall.
The 7-year-old daughter of the shooting victim was taken to the school counsellor, who told her her father had been shot.
A short while later, she was in the comforting arms of her family.
In the hall, principal Debbie Harris explained what had happened to the hundreds of other wide-eyed children.
And, while a few had burst into tears, she said she was proud of how strong her staff and pupils had been.
Police spokeswoman Constable Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the victim had gone to the FNB branch in Randburg, where he is alleged to have made a large withdrawal.
While on his way to pick up his daughter, a white Golf GTI came up behind him. Slowing down just a few metres away from the primary school at a nearby stop sign, two of the three men in the Golf jumped out.
The two armed men ran up to the passenger door, grabbing the bag of cash. But the man fought back and lunged over to the passenger seat, grabbing hold of the bag containing the money.
In the midst of the scuffle, at least three shots were fired at the man, and the men sped off with the cash.
Netcare 911 paramedics arrived on the scene and found the victim in a critical condition.
“The critically injured man was treated on the scene and rushed to hospital for the urgent medical care he required,” said Netcare media liaison officer Santi Steinmann.
The car stood outside the school’s back entrance for several hours as police began their investigation. Blood was visible on the passenger seat.
Mulamu said it appeared the man was going to recover from his injuries, but warned others of driving around with a lot of cash.
“People have to be careful. It’s not advisable to drive with such a large amount of money,” she said.
It is not known how the robbers knew about the man’s large withdrawal, but this will form part of the police’s investigation.
The school promised counselling to staff, parents and pupils.
No arrests had been made. – Additional reporting by Lerato Mbangeni