A Cape Flats mother died in her kitchen in front of her seven children after she was hit by a gangster’s stray bullet.
Elsabe Petersen, 42, instinctively ran to look for her teen daughter when she heard several gunshots fired outside her Elsies River home.
Minutes before the shootout, Elsabe sent the 14-year-old to a nearby tuck shop to buy a candle and she feared her child could be hurt.
It was before 8pm on Monday when rival gang members opened fire on each other in Porterville Court, Elsies River.
Without thinking, the panic-stricken mother opened the door and ran out looking for her child.
Elsabe was barely outside her home when she was hit in the back by a stray bullet.
On Tuesday, Bronwin Petersen, 18, described how he and his siblings watched helplessly as their mother collapsed in a pool of blood.
“My mom came from work and she was busy cooking supper when she sent my sister to the shop,” he says.
“Just after my sister left, we heard the gunshots and my mom went out looking for her.
“When she opened the door they (gunmen) shot at our house and that’s when my mom was hit.
Bronwin says his mother turned back after she was shot and collapsed inside their kitchen while they scurried to get help.
“My ma het ingekom toe sê sy net ‘ek was geskiet’ en toe val sy op die vloer [My mom came in and said she was shot, then fell on the floor],” says the teen.
“We were all standing in the kitchen around her.
“I ran to our neighbour and asked them to call an ambulance.
“When I got back, I closed the wound with a towel to stop the bleeding and covered her with a blanket while my stepdad held her.
“By the time police arrived, she was already gone.”
His sister Kaylin says she was on her way to the shop when she heard the shots.
“I was walking to the shop when they started shooting,” she says with tears in her eyes.
“My mom sent me to buy a candle which she wanted to use in one of the rooms.
“When the shots went off, I ran into the house next door.
Elsabe died in front of her partner Kevin Adams and their children aged 22, 18, 14, 11, eight, six, and her youngest son just three years old.
When the Daily Voice visited the family at their home on Tuesday, Kevin was at the mortuary to identify her body.
Bronwin was left with the responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings.
The visibly shaken children were all quietly seated next to each other on their tattered sofas.
Meanwhile outside, angry residents clashed with police following the terrible tragedy.
“We want the police to arrest the people who did this,” one furious woman shouted.
“An innocent mother died because she wanted to protect her children.”
Police say a 30-year-old suspect was arrested on Monday in connection with Elsabe’s murder.
Provincial police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander says the suspect was found without the firearm.
“Police found (Elsabe) lying on the kitchen floor,” he says.
“Two rival gangs fired shots at each other when she went outside looking for her daughter.
“The community alerted police to the whereabouts of the 30-year-old suspect who was arrested shortly thereafter without a firearm,” Filander explains.
The man will appear in the Goodwood Magistrates’ Court once he’s been formally charged.
* This article was published in the Daily Voice