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Cape Town - A 15-year-old boy shot himself in the head in front of his friends because he thought the gun he was playing with was empty.
Witnesses say Bruce Tobin pulled the trigger and stood swaying for a few seconds before crashing to the ground.
Moments before the firearm went off, the teen said: “Ek gaan myself nou skiet [I’m going to shoot myself now].” But his grandmother Martha Michaels believes her grandson was murdered.
Bruce, his aunt Natasha Michaels, 17, and three other friends were playing games in a Wendy house in his grandmother’s backyard in Liberator Street, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain, on Monday afternoon when the incident occured.
“We were just chilling in the Wendy house, we were playing spin the bottle,” Natasha said.
“He spun the bottle and then he took a gun from the front of his pants.
“He spun it on the floor and then pointed it against the right side of his head and said, ‘Ek gaan nou myself skiet’ [I’m going to shoot myself now].
“Cecil [a friend] told him not to play with the gun like that but he didn’t listen and then a shot went off. I heard nothing but a loud bang.
“Bruce stood standing for a few seconds and then he fell on the couch. He tried to speak, but he couldn’t, blood kept rushing out of his head and his brains hung out.”
Cecil van Wyk, 15, said just before Bruce pulled the trigger, he saw him remove three bullets from the gun.
They did not realise one bullet remained in the chamber.
“I watched Bruce take the bullets out of the gun and even the magazine was out. I was shocked when the shot went off,” Cecil said. “We all ran out after he fell.”
Two small children who were watching television in the Wendy house’s other room ran to tell granny Martha what had happened.
Martha, 62, is adamant that her grandson did not kill himself.
“Something is not right, I don’t blame anyone but I think someone actually shot him,” Martha said.
She says Bruce’s older brother is a gangster, who has been running from rivals for weeks.
“One of the boys who was in the Wendy house is from a rival gang and when Bruce was shot, he ran out of the yard,” she said.
“We tried to stop him, but he broke loose. And now the gun is also missing.”
The heartbroken ouma said Bruce was a “well-mannered boy who enjoyed singing in church”.
Police were unable to confirm the incident at the time of going to print.
*This article was published in the Daily Voice
* The intro to this story has been edited in response to reader complaints about insensitivity.