Cape Town -
Tatum Prins, 3, ran into her Bishop Lavis home after being hit by a stray bullet and cowered at her bed - trying to hide, then she stopped moving.
On Monday, family and friends described the Tatum’s last moments to the Cape Times after the girl was caught in gang crossfire on Sunday night in Bishop Lavis.
On the same night, two others were also murdered in Elsies River. The shootings bring to 10 the number of people killed in shootings in three days. Residents believe the Bishop Lavis shooting stemmed from a drug turf war between the 28s prison gang and the Clever Kids.
Police spokesman Andre Traut said Tatum died in hospital. A 29-year-old woman was wounded in the same incident.
“The suspects fled and are yet to be arrested. The circumstances surrounding the matter are being investigated,” Traut said.
Tatum’s mother Marlene Prins, 33, said she had been cleaning the toilet when gunshots went off.
“I heard the shots and immediately I dropped everything and ran outside. As I opened the toilet door, I saw her running to the room,” she said, adding that her daughter’s back was bleeding.
“Her body was in a position getting ready to hide away. I picked her up and we rushed to the hospital.”
Prins said shootings in the area had never been so frequent.
“There are shootings now and then. But it became worse (on Sunday). My poor child was only three years old. She had nothing to do with the gangs outside,” she said.
Marlene Prins also has a nine-year-old son Arnesto and is expecting a baby boy. A family friend who stood next to Tatum when she was shot said the girl ran towards her bedroom to hide away.
“We did not know what to do immediately. Her mother came and picked her up and we all took her to hospital,” said the woman, who asked not to be named.
A neighbour, who also declined to be named saying she feared for her safety, said three men in a black Renault Clio started shooting as they drove past the house.
“I could not see exactly how many guys were in the car but they were firing at each other with real intent. It lasted for mere seconds, but fearing for my life, it felt like an eternity.
“This has to stop because an innocent young life has been taken in a matter of seconds. They are going to kill all our children if they continue like this.”
Traut said in a separate incident in Elsies River on Sunday two men were killed - a 28-year-old in Owen Road and 29-year-old in Range Road.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and former Western Cape MEC for education Cameron Dugmore were expected to visit the relatives of the five people killed in gang shootings at the weekend.