Police have revealed that a man who disarmed a cop and killed three people at New Somerset Hospital on Saturday night is himself a former officer.
The shocking shooting incident happened on the second floor of the surgical ward, where Sea Point SAPS officer, Constable Donay Phillips, was guarding an injured man he had brought to hospital for treatment.
Two patients were killed instantly while Constable Phillips died from a gunshot wound to the head on Sunday morning.
According to the Western Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, the shooter is a former cop from Hopefield who was dismissed in 2006/7.
He could not immediately disclose the reason for the dismissal on Sunday.
Patekile said the incident was not gang-related and the victims appeared to have been shot at random, while lying in their hospital beds.
One of the patients was from Piketberg and the other had no known address, and was presumed to be homeless.
A brave nurse spoke to the 40-year-old suspect after the shooting, apparently persuading him to hand over the firearm.
He was then sedated before being arrested by cops.
According to Premier Alan Winde, who visited the scene on Saturday night, the police officer was guarding a patient when he heard an altercation in a neighbouring ward.
“He went to investigate and in that process, his gun got taken away from him. The police officer got shot with his own gun by the shooter and very sadly two other patients were fatally wounded.”
Winde told the Daily Voice traumatised patients were moved to another ward as cops carried out their investigation.
A witness told the Daily Voice the shooter grabbed the cop’s gun and shot him in the head.
“And the men who were shot were in their beds,” he says.
“No one knows exactly what happened, it all happened so fast, the police officer was just trying to stop a fight.
“The suspect had been in hospital for some time when this happened and the officer had just arrived at the ward with a patient.”
Police spokeswoman Brigadier Novela Potelwa confirmed the incident: “Reports indicate that Sea Point police had taken a 35-year-old suspect to Somerset hospital for medical attention when a man in the ward grabbed the firearm of a police official and shot him through the head.
“The man then shot two patients who were in his proximity. Both died on the scene and the 32-year-old police official was seriously injured and sadly succumbed to his injuries.
“The names of two other persons, aged 42 and 48, who were killed during the shooting incident, are yet to be released.”
Doctor Jacques Hendricks says trauma doctors on duty responded quickly by taking the police officer to the theatre. He added that hospital staff are receiving counselling.
Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight, Reagen Allen has condemned the shooting.
“The disregard for life is deplorable. It is gut-wrenching that an officer should lose his life in this manner. We regard an attack on the police as a direct attack on us all, and this cannot become the norm.
“I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and all loved ones, including the men and women in blue who have been affected by this hideous crime.”