Cape Town - Family and colleagues of a policeman, who apparently ended his own life in his girlfriend’s driveway, are in mourning and say they are shocked by the tragedy.
The deceased cop has been hailed as a “servant for the people”, and his family says they are still trying to piece together the last hours of his life.
Sergeant Bradley Franks’ lifeless body was found on Monday just after 2.20am inside a vehicle in the driveway of his girlfriend’s home in Scrabble Crescent, Morgenster, Mitchells Plain.
The 34-year old had been off duty at the time and it is unclear whether he used his service pistol to take his life.
The father of two was the Sector Commander for Sector 2 at Kensington Police Station and was a SAPS member for 14 years.
Family members say they are still puzzled by his death, but on Thursday celebrated his life at a memorial service.
His girlfriend is also a sergeant in the police force. The Daily Voice visited the woman’s house twice on Thursday, but she could not be reached for comment.
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut, says police have opened an inquest into Franks’ death.
“This office can confirm that a death inquest case docket has been registered after an off-duty police sergeant, stationed at Kensington Police Station allegedly shot himself in Scrabble Way, Beacon Valley, on February 19 at 2.20am.”
On Thursday, Deon Smith, 49, told the Daily Voice his brother’s “heart and soul belonged to the community”.
Franks had three older siblings.
Deon says they are still in the dark about what took place on the day Franks died: “There are a lot of questions about the incident, but we do not want to dwell there right now.”
In February last year, Franks helped arrange the birthday party of a 90-year-old Kensington grandmother and made her wish come true by tracing the address of the farm she grew up on as she couldn’t remember its name.
He and other roleplayers later took the woman to the farm in Stellenbosch.
“Like I said at his memorial, Bradley didn’t belong to us, he had a heart for the people,” says Deon.
“When we all left the house to get married and he was alone with our parents, he would give the rooms that were empty to people in need or let police students from rural areas stay there.
“If a child needed a car for their matric ball, he would make the calls and the arrangements to make their dream come true.”
Zainulabideen van der Schyff, the public relations officer for the Kensington Policing Forum, says Franks was a sterling police officer.
“Sergeant Franks will be remembered for his sincere service, his determination and valuable contribution towards ensuring the safety and security for all in the Factreton-Kensington community,” he says.