Johannesburg - “It was like they were killing a dog,” the grieving mother of Nathaniel Julies said after the 16-year-old was allegedly shot by a police officer in Eldorado Park.
The death of the Down Syndrome teenager sparked fierce running battles between police and residents in Eldorado Park on Thursday after angry community members accused police of shooting the boy. Taking to the streets to vent their frustrations, they threw stones and petrol bombs at SAPS and JMPD officers.
The horrific scenes unfolded throughout the day, where the family of the slain teenager mourned.
Nathaniel was allegedly shot by an officer who later dumped him at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, where he died.
His grieving mother Bridgette tearfully narrated the saga of her son’s death.
“I went to identify him and to find him in that condition. It was so devastating. It was like they were killing a dog.
“On his chest it looked muddy with blood and I was told that he was bubbling blood through his mouth and nose.
“My sweet loving boy is gone. Police should be protecting us and we must trust them but when such things happen it cuts deep.”
Nathaniel’s sister Pertunia Julies blamed the police for his death.
“My brother was out on the street and he then came back home and settled in before police arrived and started flashing lights outside.
“My brother is disabled and he went outside, not understanding what was going on. He was then shot once by the police and when they realised he was unconscious they threw him inside the van. I don’t really know what led to them shooting because my brother could not communicate properly,” she said.
However, police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters indicated that police are not sure who pulled the trigger.
“Anyone who may have information of this shooting is urged to come forward with information that could assist in the investigation.”
The angry residents vandalised a building at Eldorado police station as they demanded answers and blockaded streets with stones.
For a short while police refrained from firing at the residents, but the residents came back stronger with some carrying petrol bombs, and in retaliation police unleashed rubber bullets.
The clash led to the injury of two officers and one JMPD member, while a number of residents were caught up in the crossfire.
Fagmida Brown said a stray rubber bullet landed on her chest while walking to the police station.
“I was not part of the protest but I was shot just for walking to the police station to see my nephew, who was locked up for filming the protest with his phone.”
Peters said four suspects have been arrested for public violence.
“Police are calling for calm and restraint as this matter has now been reported to the Ipid for investigations.
“Anyone who may have information of this shooting is urged to come forward with information that could assist in the investigation," Peters said.
IPID spokesperson, Ndileka Cola, confirmed that they had sent investigators to the scene to find out what transpired at the scene.
The SA Human Rights Commission was also called to try and restore calm as the battle worsened.
SAHRC commissioner Chris Nissen said: “We understand that residents are angry and a family lost its son. But we do not condone such actions and we will try to gather all facts by engaging with police and community leaders.”