Cape Town -120809 - Allegedly, a person walked over to a bench, in front of the Bishop's chapel, and shot themself in the head. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

Cape Town - An unidentified man committed suicide by shooting himself on the school grounds of Cape Town’s prestigious Diocesan College (Bishops) this week.

The man had no connection to the school, headmaster Grant Nupen said.

Details remained sketchy on Thursday, with both the police and Nupen saying that very little information was available about the incident, which happened outside the school’s Brooke Chapel on Wednesday.

It has caused a stir in the suburbs surrounding the school, prompting a swift response to parents from Nupen to allay any fears over safety issues.

Police spokesman Captain Frederick Van Wyk confirmed the shooting at the top Rondebosch school and said an inquest docket had been opened. The name, age and other details of the dead man has not been released. The Cape Argus was also unable to establish whether a suicide note was found at the scene.

The shooting happened shortly after 4pm when most of the boys had gone home for the long weekend.

The man had been sitting on a bench outside the chapel when he shot himself.

In a letter e-mailed to parents, Nupen said the man had no connection to Bishops.

The reason he chose to shoot himself there was not known, he added.

Nupen said staff immediately called the police when they discovered the body, and police were treating it as a suicide.

In the e-mail to parents, Nupen said: “A dreadful incident occurred on the chapel lawns this afternoon. I am aware that the networks are buzzing with the news and so thought it best that I tell you what we know as soon as possible.

“At approximately 4pm this afternoon a man, unknown to the Bishops’ community, committed suicide on a bench outside the Brooke Chapel by shooting himself.

“The police are present and are dealing with the matter. Our grateful thanks go to the parents and staff who were on hand to assist.”

The school has had to deal with some tough times in recent months.

In his online newsletter, dated June 20, Nupen wrote: “We have lost many loved ones in our family recently. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.”

Cape Argus