Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - Experienced combat shooter and firearms instructor Elton Weise, who shot Worcester waste-picker Johannes Jacobs dead last July, “is not the merciless murderer the media is making him out to be”, says his employer.

“He was defending himself against a sustained life-threatening attack by a violent criminal,” said Jonathan Deal, owner of the Touws River firearms training school Zero Points Down Academy (ZPD), where Weise is employed.

The academy offers SAPS-approved competency training on all firearms including semi-automatic rifles - and not automatic rifles, as incorrectly stated in an earlier story.

“Jacobs had a long history of violence. If Elton had not drawn his weapon, Jacobs could well have been the man facing a murder charge.”

Reacting to the Weekend Argus story that Weise was training students while out on R10000 bail for alleged murder, Deal said his star instructor was a law-abiding family man with no criminal record.

“As a highly trained instructor, he is well acquainted with the law around firearms and the consequences of using a firearm against another human being.

“I’ve known him for six years and have employed him as an instructor at ZPD for three years. If I suspected he was a trigger-happy gunslinger, he would never be training my students.

“The use of deadly force is a complex and tricky issue for students to master. If you draw your weapon, you have to be damn sure your life is in danger, otherwise you will be in legal hot water. No one knows this better than Elton.”

Weise is due to appear in Worcester Magistrate’s Court next week for the start of his trial. It was delayed last week when the State’s chief witness, Jacobs’s sister, failed to appear.

Weise is pleading not guilty to murdering Roodewal resident Jacobs, 27, claiming the fatal shooting in Krone Street in Worcester’s industrial area was in self-defence following an alleged altercation over waste metal harvested out of a yellow waste skip.

Jacobs’s violent past was confirmed by both his mother, Hendriena Jacobs, 51, and Weise’s attorney, William Booth. His past convictions were also read into the record during his client’s bail hearing. Starting in 2003, they include three convictions for malicious damage to property and four for violent assault. In 2008, Jacobs was convicted on a domestic violence charge.

His mother confirmed that he had spent at least three terms in jail for violent assault. According to a source present at Jacob’s autopsy, chest tattoos also indicated that he was prison gang member. Jacobs’s mother also recalled that a restraining order was brought against her son by a family member he allegedly assaulted in 2008.

She blamed his violent behaviour on a head injury he sustained during a fight when he was young. “It was bad. His brains were coming out of his wound. After that his behaviour changed. He would get agitated and sometimes get violent and go crazy.

“The social worker warned us not to break promises we made to Johannes, otherwise he would go beserk,” Hendriena Jacobs said.

Weekend Argus