Five gunshots, two hijackings and no justiceComment on this story
Johannesburg - When a car parked behind Dino Peterson and blocked him in as he waited at the gate for his mother to open for him, a chill went down his spine.
Five years ago, Peterson, who is from Eden Park, Ekurhuleni, was at a nightclub, speaking to a DJ, when a police officer who was allegedly drunk started shooting randomly, he said.
Peterson was shot five times, and when he woke up, he couldn’t walk anymore.
The DJ died.
Last year, gunmen hijacked him in front of his father-in-law’s house. They threw him out of the car and took it. His wheelchair was found abandoned in Katlehong.
So, on Tuesday night, he prepared himself for the worst as he sat in his new silver BMW 320i 2013 model, which had been delivered by the dealership only four hours earlier.
Peterson, 34, owns and coaches a soccer team, and he had just dropped some of the youngsters at home and was waiting at the gate for his mother or brother to open for him, when he saw a man with a Mohawk swing open the door of his Ford Figo and walk up to him, a gun in hand.
He started experiencing flashbacks.
“You just ask yourself, ‘is this really happening again?’ and pray that they don’t start shooting,” Peterson said.
He opened the door to show the gunman that he was not resisting.
“Get out of the car!” The gunman shouted.
“I can’t, I’m using a wheelchair, I can’t walk,” Peterson responded.
The man grabbed him and yanked him out of the car. Doctors believe now that the force hurt Peterson’s spinal cord and fractured a few ribs.
In the fracas, Peterson got his leg stuck between the pedals, and the car started revving up. Simultaneously, his mother walked to the gate to open for him. She was shot in a hand.
“I heard two more shots and I grabbed her when she fell. I threw myself on top of her because I saw that the guy wanted to shoot more. I begged him: ‘Don’t shoot, she does not have anything.’”
Peterson’s brother had come out to check what the commotion was about. He was shot in a thigh.
Another man got out of the Ford, searched Peterson – who was lying on the ground – for the BMW’s keys. The two accomplices fled in the BMW, followed by the Ford.
Peterson expressed frustration and hurt that the police were “unwilling” to help.
He said he located his iPhone at an address in Katlehong and informed two officers who had arrived at his house.
“They just said they will go and register the case, and left. They did not do anything,” said Peterson.
With the support of friends, a group of them went to the address and found his wheelchair.
However, getting the police there was a battle, he said.
“It was frustrating, calling the police, telling them where we were. They only came after an hour-and-a-half, then left,” Peterson said.
He said he did not know whether he would ever get justice. The police officer who crippled him was fired, but is yet to be prosecuted, he said.
The thugs who hijacked him have not been arrested.
Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng of the provincial police said Peterson should lay a complaint with the station commander.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate would then investigate.
“That is the procedure and it will give him better results,” said Mofokeng.
No one has been arrested.