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Durban - Pupils from two uMlazi schools came upon a gruesome scene early on Tuesday when they found two bodies in a car parked at one school’s front gate.
Teaching at Umlazi Junior Primary and Senior Secondary schools was disrupted when the children, some as young as six, crowded around the crime scene.
The car was parked outside Umlazi Senior Secondary in V Section. Inside the vehicle were the bodies of a policeman and an unknown man. Both had been shot.
The policeman was identified as Constable Sizwe Mhlongo, 26, stationed at the Sydenham SAPS. The other man has not been identified.
Inside the car police found six cellphones and Mhlongo’s service pistol.
A motive for the killings has not been established. Police spokesman Jay Naicker said it appeared that the gunshots were fired from inside the car.
Mhlongo was slumped on the steering wheel while the other man lay on his shoulder.
Only two bullet holes, in the passenger seat window and rear window, were visible.
Naicker said the school security guard told detectives the car was parked outside the school on Monday night, but he did not notice anything amiss because “cars normally parked outside the school”.
A policewoman, also stationed at Sydenham, who lives across the road from Umlazi Senior Secondary, heard the gunshots, but was too afraid to go outside, a detective said.
The relationship between the two men was unclear.
Umlazi Senior pupils said they had to use an alternative gate to enter the school on Tuesday.
“I thought they were asleep in the car. But I ran and called my teachers when I saw them lying dead in the front seats,” a pupil told The Mercury.
“We were scared, but teachers assured us the police would protect us,” another added.
Residents said they had asked the schools to send the younger children home because they would be traumatised.
During break time hundreds of pupils surrounded the crime scene.
The dead policeman, who had been in the service for four years, lived in uMlazi with his relatives, his family confirmed.
Mhlongo’s aunt, Princess, was helped away from the scene by police when she became hysterical.
His elder brother, Peter, said Mhlongo was asleep on Monday night, but woke up later and left to meet a person he was talking to on his cellphone.
He did not return.
Police were investigating two cases of murder until ballistic tests and post-mortems ruled out foul play, Naicker added.
Provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni conveyed her condolences to Sydenham police and the Mhlongo family, saying they needed to stay strong and police would do “everything within our control to establish what transpired”.