File picture: SAPS Twitter

PORT ELIZABETH - SAPS in the Eastern Cape has called on communities to work with them rather than take the law into their own hands after the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old girl in Bloemendal in Bethelsdorp, Port Elizabeth on Saturday night.

According to police information, Alvineesha Brookes, 12, was walking in Buys Street in Bloemendal at 8.35pm when she was caught in cross-fire between two rival gangs - the Carlitos and the Hondekoppe. She sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the head, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.

"The enraged community immediately mobilised and marched to a suspected gang member’s house in Bardien Street. The person they were looking for was not at home and they started to assault two other males who were there.

"The males were stabbed and assaulted with stones. Tavern Moss, 25 from Arcadia was dragged into the street and beaten to death. The other male, 16 years old, is in a critical condition in hospital. This house was completely vandalised by the mob," she said.

The crowd then marched to another house in Bardien Street, also a suspected gang member’s house. A petrol bomb and stones were thrown at the house. Windows of the house and a car parked in the yard was damaged. The fire was immediately extinguished.

While police were in attendance and controlling the situation, a police vehicle was damaged by the community. Warning shots were fired to prevent the community from further rampage. 

Police were investigating cases of murder (the 12-year-old girl), murder and attempted murder (in Bardien Street), malicious damage to property (both houses and vehicle in Bardien Street), and malicious damage to property (the police vehicle). No arrests were made in any of the cases and the investigations were continuing. 

"Police would like to warn the community that there is no justification whatsoever in acts of vigilantism by members of the communities and perpetrators of such crimes will face the full might of the law. Such behaviour is unjustifiable and one cannot resolve crime through committing crime," Naidu said.

African News Agency (ANA)