One shot ends 12-hour standoff - PICS
Cape Town - A tense stand-off with Michael Volkwyn, who had shot and wounded a policeman on Tuesday night, ended on Wednesday morning with police raiding his Athlone home, and Volkwyn killing himself.
Special Task Team officers, armed with with automatic weapons, moved into the house more than 12 hours after the standoff began, and moments later paramedics rushed inside.
A single shot was fired moments after police entered the house.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that Volkwyn had shot himself as police had entered his house.
Several of Volkwyn’s relatives gathered outside the house began weeping after the raid.
His sister Barbara’s cries were a sharp wail piercing the air as vehicles moved along the road.
Speaking to reporters, she said police had robbed her and her family of a chance to "say goodbye" by moving in without warning.
The rest of his family shouted as they wiped away tears.
“Don’t bring an ambulance, we want to see him,” said one of his nieces.
Faced with aggressive dogs, possible booby traps and a man armed with an unknown amount of ammunition – who had already gunned down an officer – police were tense as negotiations were underway with Volkwyn who refused to leave his house.
Volkwyn, described by his neighbours as a recluse, had been holed up in the house in Hazendal for over 12 hours after he shot a constable who had accompanied city law enforcement officers to confiscate dogs from his property, said Van Wyk.
The policeman was shot in the face and rushed to hospital on Tuesday night.
And while he received treatment, the street was closed off, as policemen arrived in droves to secure the area and begin negotiations for the mechanical engineer to hand himself over.
But there was little progress for many hours despite Volkwyn’s siblings, nieces and brother arriving to coax him from inside the house on Albermarle Road.
On Wednesday morning tactical teams gathered on the street, talking in clumps, with members breaking away to assess Volkwyn’s property from over his neighbour’s fence.
As the morning mist cleared, the negotiator’s voice cracked and scratched over a megaphone inside a Nyala parked in front of the house.
“Michael wake up, wake up Michael.”
But the house remained quiet, a cardboard sign scrawled with the words “Just Guns” adorned his gate.
Police had been called to the home after one of the owner’s 13 dogs had allegedly attacked a resident, said Van Wyk.
When officers arrived on his property, Van Wyk said they had been attacked by the dogs and had to use a stun grenade to scare them away.
During the commotion the constable was shot in the face. Some of these dogs now wandered along the road, seemingly confused by the crowd that had gathered behind a barrier of police tape and parked cars.
Desperately trying to reach Volkwyn, his family were glued to their phones.
“He says he has little booby traps,” said his sister. His nieces refused to speak to the media.
Athlone Community Policing Forum chairman Aziza Kannemeyer said family had arrived almost immediately on Tuesday, with his brother flying in from Joburg to help with the negotiations.
His brother sat inside the Nyala on the doorstep of Volkwyn’s home on Wednesday morning.
The rest of his family looked strained as they stared at their cellphones.
Van Wyk said he could not share what type of weapons the engineer was armed with, but said tactical teams had been taking every possible precaution.
Over 10 years ago Volkwyn allegedly threatened Herschell Gibbs’s mother with a crossbow. The cricketer’s mother lived nearby at the time.
Kannemeyer said Volkwyn had long history of grievances with the police.
A resident said Volkwyn had been building a bunker in his backyard over the past seven years, however the Cape Argus team could not confirm this with police.
From the nearby bridge, there appeared to be a tall concrete structure in his back garden.
Kannemeyer said police had planned to attempt to negotiate with the gunman before moving in.
The CPF chairman said she was happy with how police had handled the situation.
“They are trying every possible tactic before resorting to brute force.”