IPID probe into Leo Williams' death, the 9-year-old killed by a police rubber bullet while watching TV at home, welcomed by family
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Cape Town - For the first time since her son Leo Williams was allegedly shot dead by the police, Cathy Thomas said she felt hopeful for justice after Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head, Jennifer Ntlatseng visited the St Helena Bay family yesterday.
Leo, 9, was struck by a rubber bullet, allegedly fired by the police during protests in the area, while watching TV in his home.
Leo was taken to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and was in ICU until the machines keeping him alive were turned off last month.
Ntlatseng said: “We are trying to recreate the crime scene to see how the shooting happened.
“We want to solve the case swiftly. It will take us time as it was the public order police who were responsible and we want to get to know who exactly fired that shot. We also want to see a conviction in this case.”
She said she was happy and confident in the investigation and appealed to anyone with information that could assist to come forward.
“I understand the community’s concerns and I understand we did not respond timeously, and we are sorry for taking time to come here, but that did not stop the investigation.”
Provincial Ipid head Thabo Leholo said: “When the matter is concluded we will send it to the director of public prosecutions and to the police for disciplinary action. We are in the final stages of the investigation and are concluding the matter. We are coming to the point where we will be able to communicate details to the family.”
Thomas, who is Leo’s foster mother, said the family were worried the officer who allegedly shot Leo would not be identified as all the officers were wearing masks, but after the Ipid visit she was more hopeful.
“It was not easy for us as a family and I am still coming to terms with it, but today is the first time that I feel like something will happen in this investigation. Today was the first day I cried because I felt like I could release it as it moved forward. I have been strong this whole time.” She said she was thankful for a government official to address the tragedy.
“He was not just a foster child to me, he was my child.
“He was three when he came to me, so he was like mine. His siblings ask about him and talk about him a lot. When they get sweets or cake they will say ‘Leo, here is your piece’.”
Anyone with information can contact anonymously Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.