October 25 2006 at 08:10AM
A senior Pick 'n Pay manager was shot and killed in his Lynnwood Ridge home during an apparent botched robbery an event witnessed by his 14-year-old son.
Wayne Els, 37, died in the early morning hours at the Wilgers Hospital after two bags of blood could not get his heart pumping on its own again.
A general merchandise senior buyer for Pick 'n Pay's northern region, Els had been working for the retail giant for 14 years.
On Tuesday afternoon young Ashley Els relived his harrowing ordeal and bravely gave police his statement. He had earlier been too shocked to do so.
He was sleeping at his father's Lynnwood Ridge home when he was woken at 3am by two shots and his father's shouting.
"The bedrooms are upstairs. I went down. The passage was messed up. Around the corner I saw my dad on the floor gasping for air. He managed to say he had pain in his stomach. But he was wounded in the chest," the boy recalled.
Ashley immediately phoned a good friend of Els's, Ursula Janke, and then the police and ambulance. Janke said she had wondered why Ashley would phone her that time of the morning.
"I heard his voice and knew something was wrong. He told me his dad had been shot. I kept him on the line, while I also phoned the ambulance."
When Janke arrived at the Els residence, the police were already there.
Els was rushed to the Wilgers Hospital at 3.45am. By 4.15am he was declared dead as his son waited outside the theatre.
Janke said she could not believe her long-time friend was gone.
"But our faith and the prayers of others are our strength," she said, hugging Ashley and whispering to him: "You were so brave."
Ashley was sad, but also angry, saying the house's fence was recently extended and barbed wire put on top.
When his dad was declared dead, his mother took him to her home. Friends from Ashley's Hatfield Christian Church School visited him there, holding him as the tears flowed.
Luke Louw, Pick 'n Pay's general manager for the northern region, said the news of Els's death sent shockwaves through the company.
"Wayne was very talented and hard-working. He was extremely positive and popular at work," Louw said.
Police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt said an unknown number of men entered the house between 2.30am and 3am on Tuesday.
It appeared they gained access via a kitchen window. They allegedly entered Els's bedroom. It is suspected he might have been shot there. It is believed the attackers fled when Ashley woke up. Breedt said they could not determine yet if anything was taken from the house.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on October 25, 2006