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Pretoria - The wife of an elderly man who was shot and killed during an attempted robbery blames herself for her husband’s death. Mike de Beer Senior, 88, was shot in the face while standing on the other side of a locked security gate to his home.
Delene de Beer, 80, is struggling to face the reality of her husband’s death at the hands of three robbers, at least one of whom was armed.
Her granddaughter, Carlien de Beer, spoke to Pretoria News on Thursday afternoon, saying her grandmother was too distraught to talk to the media. She said her grandmother had not left the cottage she shared with her husband – and where he was shot and died – since 3am on Thursday.
“She is blaming herself, saying she should have pushed the panic button when the dogs started barking and should not have allowed my grandfather to go to investigate,” she said.
According to Carlien, Mike was awakened at about 2.30am on Thursday morning by the sound of their barking dogs.
“He went to open the door, but the security gate was still locked. We assume he saw the robbers and shouted at them and that was when the gunshot went off.
“I can’t understand how they could shoot a harmless old man. He was still behind the security gate and was no threat to them. He was just letting them know he was aware they were on the property.”
Carlien said her brother in-law, Danie, who lives in the main house at the front of the property, had also heard the barking dogs and then a “Hey” from her grandfather, followed by a shot.
“Danie shouted to my sister to press the panic button and then ran out. Within minutes, Bull Security was there and ran with Danie to the back of the house. One of the security guards apparently saw a suspect and shot at him and they chased after him. Danie came to my grandparents’ cottage to find my grandfather in a pool of blood and my grandmother sitting next to him in the dark,” said Carlien.
She said when her grandmother heard the first shot, she immediately ran to look for her husband and found his lifeless body at the front door to their cottage.
“She just sat there and didn’t move until my sister picked her up and took her inside,” she said.
Carlien said it was unclear how the suspects gained entry to the property.
Police confirmed the incident and said they suspected the robbers could have come in from the Wingate Park Golf Course bordering the De Beers’ property.
“We don’t know how they came in, but we have been fighting with the golf course for years to erect a fence or wall or something, but they just don’t care,” said Carlien.
Police spokesman Warrant Office Dave Miller said no arrests had been made yet.
The rest of the De Beer family are flying to the country on Friday from across the world. Mike is survived by five sons, all but one of whom live abroad. Funeral arrangements had not yet been made.