Kimberley - A teenager was shot and killed by an on-duty police officer who allegedly went on a shooting spree over the weekend.
The police officer is now facing a charge of murder and two charges of attempted murder, after shooting and wounding two other men.
The 18-year-old Northern Cape boy, Lionel Meintjies, was shot in the back at his home in Warrenvale, Warrenton, while he was apparently trying to run away from the police officer. He died in front of his mother.
Family members said on Monday that Meintjies was playing pool at a tavern on Saturday morning when an on-duty constable, in full uniform, used pepper spray inside the tavern, forcing patrons, mostly young people, to run outside.
After that the constable allegedly started firing his service pistol randomly at the crowd. Meintjies managed to run away with a friend and went to his mother’s house to look for help.
“Mother, mother, help me,” Meintjies shouted when he arrived at the door.
The police officer apparently followed Meintjies to his home in a police vehicle and allegedly fired two shots at him and his friend when they tried to run away.
Meintjies was hit in the back and died in front of his mother. His friend, Alister Spaigen, was injured during the incident.
According to Meintjies’s mother, his last word was “Mama”.
The constable then allegedly threatened her, saying: “What do you want to do? I will kill you as well.”
The suspect was apparently arrested on Saturday morning at a local bank.
Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Andrea Cloete could not comment on the incident because the docket had been handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for investigation.
The national spokesman for Ipid, Moses Dlamini, confirmed on Monday that the suspect was arrested on charges of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
“It is alleged that a constable was on duty, in full uniform and carrying his service pistol. He got involved in a fight with two men at a local tavern and shot an innocent bystander, Billy van Wyk, 39, in the foot. Another shot was fired in the air.
Thereafter he chased two men and fired two shots at them, injuring one, Alister Spaigen, 24, in the thigh and fatally wounding and killing Meintjies. Van Wyk and Spaigen were admitted to the Warrenton Hospital,” Dlamini said.
The suspect will appear in the Warrenton Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Warrenton residents on Monday expressed shock at the incident, saying that it was unbelievable to think that an officer of the law could be responsible for such a senseless killing of a child.
“What has the world come to if those who are supposed to protect us turn on children and kill them in cold blood for no reason,” one woman asked.
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