Durban - A pensioner has told how she narrowly escaped death when stray AK-47 bullets came through the windows of her Sydenham home, just missing her. She puts her survival down to divine intervention.
A man had driven on Wednesday into a petrol station in Randles Road, outside the pensioner’s home, and parked his car next to a petrol pump. It is not clear if he was there to buy petrol.
He went into the shop, leaving two friends in the car.
Another car stopped next to his car and three or four men got out. One of them had an AK-47 rifle while the others carried handguns. The men opened the man’s car and took out black bags, which they loaded into their car, according to witnesses.
As the car was driving off the man holding the AK-47 fired a burst.
Shoppers, motorists and petrol attendants took cover. The men fled and the victim also drove off.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said police tried to trace the vehicles involved. He said the victim had not opened a case of armed robbery. No one was hurt.
Rosemary Nicholas, 69, had been seated on her favourite red couch, relaxing with her legs up, watching her television soapies on her wall-mounted flat-screen television, when she heard what she described as an explosion. She lives on the top floor of a double storey house next to the petrol station.
“My back was towards the window. I placed both hands over my ears and ran into my bedroom. I peered out my window into the petrol garage next door. I saw a car with the windscreen shattered driving off,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas said her ears were ringing from the noise. At the time she did not realise several bullets had struck near where she had been seated.
Nicholas said prior to the shooting, she was talking to her sister Heather Barnard, 67. She had been standing in front of Nicholas, and would have been in the line of fire.
“My sister went to fetch something from her house downstairs. A split second later the bullets came through the window. My sister called the police. They accompanied her upstairs.
“I could hear her saying ‘my sister is dead’,” Nicholas said.
Two AK-47 bullets went through the windowpane. One cut through the burglar bar, went clean through the curtains and struck the television. Her ceiling boards and wall were damaged by shrapnel and what looked like a bullet hole.
“I was still in shock when police arrived. They asked me to check myself for any wounds. I did not see the bullet hole in the TV until a police photographer showed me. The bullet could have gone through my head. The burglar guard saved my life,” she said.
Naicker said Nicholas had lfound that the windows and roof tiles had been damaged. A case of malicious damage to property is being investigated by Sydenham SAPS.
Nicholas is a staunch Catholic. She believes it was divine intervention that saved her. Next to the window where the bullets came through she has a statue of Mary. Next to her couch she has wooden crucifixes. She has a picture of Jesus on the wall and other statues including one of Saint Rita – a gift she received from Rome.
The owner of the garage declined to comment.