July 21 2006 at 11:49AM
By Anna Louw
A visit to inspect a property for sale turned into a nightmare for a mother when she saw her only child shot by hijackers.
On Thursday night doctors were keeping a close watch on 12-year-old Quintin Hall at the Glynwood Hospital in Benoni after a two-hour emergency operation. The boy is in intensive care and breathing with the help of a ventilator.
Laetia Hall, 38, never left her son's bedside. Hall, of Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, said on Thursday night that she and Quintin, together with her friend Riana Smit and her son Stefan, 14, had gone to look at a townhouse in Dyan Road, Boksburg North, on Wednesday. Hall had fetched Quintin after choir practice at Concordia Afrikaans Primary School in Boksburg, where he is a Grade 6 pupil.
'Don't come closer. We will kill you'
"We met the estate agent at the school and followed him to the complex. We had a look at the townhouse and were walking back to the car when a woman came running towards us screaming: 'Help me, they have just hijacked my car'," Hall said.
She said the women and the two boys ran to help the victim. "We shouted to a man at the gate to help us, but little did we know that he was one of the hijackers."
Hall said the man had shouted: "Don't come closer. We will kill you. We are going to shoot you."
She added: "We saw the gun and realised our mistake. He had jumped out to stop the automatic gate at the entrance to the complex from closing. I then saw that the man behind the car's steering wheel also had a gun.
"We stopped in our tracks and, as they were leaving, one of the gunmen shot my son in the stomach. There was a small hole in the front, but the bullet went straight through him and he was in terrible pain. I started crying hysterically. I thought: 'My God, they have shot my boy'," Hall said.
She called her medical aid's emergency number and they dispatched a Netcare 911 ambulance with paramedics. "They gave Quintin oxygen and rendered emergency treatment, performed a tracheotomy to help him breathe, put up a drip and gave him oxygen," Hall said.
The boy was rushed through to the Glynwood Hospital where a specialist was waiting after being alerted about the attack. After a two-hour operation to repair damage to his stomach and pancreas, as well as a main artery, doctors left the child's bedside only after three hours.
The specialist told Hall her son's condition was critical but his chances of survival were good.
By last night the boy's condition was stable, but serious. "He has tried to open his eyes, but is still on a ventilator," his mother said. "It is like watching a horror movie, all the while hoping that it's not real."
Superintendent Andy Pieke said a five-man gang had attacked a 28-year-old woman in her grey Volkswagen Polo at the complex. They threatened her and ordered her to start the car, but forced her out of the vehicle when she started screaming for help. This is when Hall, Smit and their sons are believed to have intervened.
Pieke said the woman who was hijacked was not hurt but her car was still missing.
The East Rand Hijacking Task team is investigating and has appealed to the community to help the police with their investigation. Anyone with information can call Inspector Werner Fischer on 082-373-0986.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on July 21, 2006