IPID investigating after Cape boy shot during protests now fighting for his life
Cape Town - Police have confirmed the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating Friday’s shooting in Laingville, St Helena Bay, during which a 9-year- old boy was shot in the head, allegedly by police.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said: “On Friday our members were deployed in Laingville, St Helena Bay to police a service delivery-related protest action in the area where community members took to the streets and set tyres alight.
“After our forces were withdrawn from the area, it was reported that an 9-year-old boy residing in Begonia Street sustained a head wound. It is yet to be established how the wound was inflicted. The circumstances surrounding the incident and how the boy was injured are being investigated by IPID.”
Residents of the area have protested over housing and land in the area on Friday.
They claimed the Saldanha Bay municipality had ignored them for years. Laingville was also part of the Gatvol Capetonian shutdown that took place on Monday. Police have monitored the situation to prevent flare-ups.
Community leader Clarance Duiker said: “The police and law enforcement came and they monitored the situations. Public Order Policing (POP) started coming, there were no riots, there was no violence, we waited for the mayor and the speaker of the municipality to hear our grievances.”
Duiker said protesters did not provoke the police who began shooting at them.
At the time, Leo Williams, 9, was in his wendy house watching television when police shot rubber bullets. He is recovering in the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
“Someone must be held responsible; they shot an innocent child. This child is currently on life support fighting for his life. The police have made this situation worse and the community is very angry,” he said.
Red Cross spokesperson Dwayne Evans said: “A patient matching the description was admitted to the ICU at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital with a head injury and is currently in a critical, but stable, condition.”
Leo’s guardian Cathy Thomas, was heartbroken.
“I want to tell the community to do good without violence because violence resulted in him lying there (in hospital) fighting for his life.
“I know that I have everyone’s support and that I am not alone. Our children are getting shot by police. And I know that there are people that are protecting the police but God will deal with them,” she said.