Johannesburg - Three smiling faces stare back from the passenger seat. Silently, captured in a halo. Paul Nothnagel stared at them on Thursday. Then he opened fire.
Two of them - Chane, 18, and Mischke, 14 - are dead.
Their mother Linda, 43, is fighting for her life after her ex-husband ambushed her as she drove her girls to school on Thursday morning. Paul, 44, then killed himself.
Abram Moraba bore witness to the tragic shooting.
On Wednesday, Moraba was on his way to work when he saw a white Toyota Fortuner parked on the corners of Hennie Alberts and Alice streets in Brackenhurst, Alberton.
Around 6.30am on Thursday, the 32-year-old man saw the vehicle again. This time it had reverse-parked into a parking lot of business premises on Hennie Alberts Street.
As Moraba walked on, a Hyundai Getz approached from Alice Street. As it approached the stop sign, a man suddenly came out from behind a tree where he had been hiding.
The man, who has since been identified as Nothnagel, approached the vehicle, pulled out a gun and opened fire at Chane through the front passenger side window.
The Hyundai screeched to a halt and Linda shouted “help, help”.
Nothnagel continued shooting. Unconfirmed information put the number of shots fired at Chane at 10.
According to Moraba, a calm Nothnagel then went to the seat directly behind Chane and started shooting through the window towards where Mischke was seated, a school bag strapped to her back. Then he went around to the driver’s side and shot Linda.
Through it all, Moraba stood rooted in his spot, paralysed by shock.
“After shooting them, the man turned back. Even though he saw me, he didn’t say anything. He cocked his gun and said ‘F**k’ and just walked slowly to his car.”
The vehicle was parked some distance away.
Moraba ran towards the Hyundai. Other motorists stopped as well.
Moraba and a man in a BMW pulled Chane from car and tried to take her to Mulbarton Hospital.
“On the way to hospital, the man didn’t even stop at the traffic lights. I was with the girl at the back and she wasn’t saying anything, just vomiting. I kept saying to her ‘Be strong, we are almost there’.”
Bernard Karusseit, a caretaker at a nearby townhouse complex, rushed Mischke to the same hospital. Paramedics arrived and transported Linda to hospital.
Both girls died before receiving any treatment, Moraba said.
When Moraba returned to the scene, he discovered that Nothnagel had shot himself in his car moments after he had shot his family.
A framed picture of the smiling trio lay on the passenger side of his vehicle next to his slumped body.
“I tried to help her (Chane) by taking her to the hospital. I did not know her but I wish I could go to the funeral,” Moraba said.
“I am so traumatised and scared,” he said as he waited at the scene.
Karusseit said he heard shots being fired and thought it must have been a hijacking. He rushed to the scene, and on arriving there, saw the injured family.
Police have opened cases of double murder and attempted murder, and will conduct an inquest.
According to an unnamed relative, Paul and Linda are believed to have been divorced more than a year ago. Linda had custody of the children, with Paul seeing them on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The relative who was at the scene said Paul had picked up the teenagers from school on Wednesday and spent the afternoon with them.
The family member said Linda had told him on Wednesday night that she was going to get a court order against him because he kept threatening her.
Where to get help:
* People Against Women Abuse (Powa) 011 642 4345
* Stop Gender Violence 0800-50-150
* Lifeline 011 715 2000
* Sadag Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567