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HE WAS shot three times, with one bullet penetrating his head – allegedly because he jumped a red traffic light.
And now, 22-year-old Tumi “Bozza” Rantlhaku’s family want to know from the police why he had to be killed that way.
“It seems police were chasing him from Zone 1 in Diepkloof last night [Tuesday] at about 7pm where they had seen him speeding. One of the cars the police were driving was a white Golf 6 GTi – it wasn’t branded. When we received a call about the shooting and arrived near the Noordgesig BRT station, it looked like Tumi was trying to get out of the car. They shot him and he fell back,” said his aunt, who asked not to be named out of fear of victimisation by the police.
His aunt, grandmother, other relatives and neighbours sat in mourning at their Diepkloof Zone 4 home yesterday, where they tried to piece together what could’ve prompted police to shoot Rantlhaku, who they described as a “people’s person with no problem with anyone”.
A witness who lives nearby and walked out to the crime scene after hearing the gun shot, said Rantlhaku was the driver of a white Honda Civic and had two passengers.
“The police were driving two cars, one Golf GTi and a normal [branded] police van. We didn’t see if the guys in the Civic were shooting or not. One of the guys [Rantlhaku] died.
“A passenger tried running under the bridge – it looked like he had a gun. Police shot him on the foot. The other was arrested before he could run away,” she said, also declining to give her name out of fear of reprisals.
The witness said he heard five bullets fired and that the man who shot at Rantlhaku was not wearing a police uniform.
Another witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “I saw a young man cuffed, with his face on the ground. There weren’t any bullet marks on the car. I heard three gunshots. The last shot was fired about 20 seconds after the first two. I saw one cop, wearing a yellow t-shirt and jeans. The police van boxed in the civic near the station.
“Those boys didn’t have a gun. My assessment is that when approaching a suspect who you think is armed and dangerous, you wouldn’t box them in. The poor boy lay there for more than three hours until an ambulance came.”
According to the witnesses, a scuffle ensued when Rantlhaku’s grandfather arrived and about 15 police vehicles raced to the scene.
“It was appalling,” the witness said. “There were no exhibits such as a gun from the boys laid on the ground. It also seems the driver was shot at close range.”
Diepkloof police spokeswoman Pepi Matlou-Mteto confirmed that police were investigating the matter, but said details were still sketchy.
“The Independent Police Investigative Directorate are still busy taking down statements and will be handling the investigation and will perhaps have more information tomorrow [today].”
Meanwhile, Rantlhaku’s family said they still needed clarity on why the white Golf GTi was not taken in as part of evidence.
When The Star visited the police station, the car was parked, one of the back windows was smashed and the back covered in black powder used to lift fingerprints.
With tears welling in her bloodshot eyes, Rantlhaku’s aunt said: “We’re still shocked. We want to find out what happened. Police told us there were no bullet cartridges found on the scene, but how can that be? He didn’t deserve to die like that… like a criminal… like a dog. It is not right.”