October 12 2006 at 08:25AM
By Karishma Ganpath & Matthew Savides
The community of Amanzimtoti on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has been rocked by the murder of a 66-year-old Mpumalanga visitor, who was shot in front of his wife outside a fish shop in the town on Wednesday.
Barberton resident Louis Bierman went to The Little Fish Shop at the Kingsway Centre on Kingsway Road about 11am, to buy fish. He was walking back to his vehicle when he was shot in the head at point-blank range.
His wife, who was at a nearby shop, saw the incident and rushed into the fish shop, screaming that her husband had been attacked by two men.
Bierman was treated by paramedics at the scene and taken to St Augustine's Hospital in Durban, where he died a few hours later.
Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said Bierman and his wife had arrived in Durban on Tuesday to "take a small break" from running their business in Barberton. They had been staying at the Nyoni Rocks holiday flats.
The couple's two children had rushed to Durban on Wednesday after hearing the news.
Botha spent time on Wednesday afternoon with the family, and said they were "struggling to come to terms with what happened".
"It's a big shock to her (Bierman's wife). To have seen her husband get shot like that was extremely traumatic," he said.
Botha, a resident of Amanzimtoti, said the community had "been badly affected".
"No one can believe that these guys had the audacity to do what they did. It was broad daylight and in Amanzimtoti's main and busiest road."
According to a witness who was waiting for her husband outside the nearby dentist's rooms, Bierman was shot as he was about to open the driver's door of his vehicle.
"He had absolutely no chance," she said. "He looked at them in shock and before he could do or say anything, the one shot him at point-blank range in the side of the head."
Tersia Klopper, a receptionist at the dentistry, said she had heard a gunshot and had gone to investigate. She had found Bierman lying on the ground with blood pouring from the wound to his head.
"I came back (to the dentistry) and called the dentist, Meyer Oosthuizen, and his assistant, who tried to assist the man," she said.
Dental assistant Tamaryn Larsen said Oosthuizen had tried to open Bierman's air passages by removing his dentures and had also performed CPR.
"The ambulance arrived 10 minutes later . . . We began praying for the man. We knew he was in a critical condition," she said.
Early reports indicated that Bierman had also been run over by the fleeing men, but the head of the trauma unit at St Augustine's, Kevin Mc-Ewen, said there was no indication this had happened. Police Superintendent Danelia Veldhuizen said the two suspects had sped away in Bierman's car.
The Serious and Violent Crime Unit is investigating a case of armed robbery and murder.
It has appealed to people to look out for Bierman's car, a silver/grey Toyota Corolla with the registration number CCS829MP. Anyone who sees the vehicle can contact their nearest police station or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on October 12, 2006