20/11/2006 22:24 - (SA)
Elise Tempelhoff , Beeld
Vanderbijlpark- A 34-year-old attorney died in Natalspruit Hospital after being shot by three armed hijackers at Thokoza, in full view of his wife and baby daughter.
Eddie Barnard died a few minutes after being admitted to hospital on Saturday night with bullet wounds in his chest, stomach and back.
Barnard, his wife, Rena, and their nine-month-old daughter, Carli, were overpowered by three armed hijackers in front of their house in SE 2, Vanderbijlpark about 20:45 on Saturday night.
They were forced into the rear section of their 4x4 Toyota Fortuner, and covered with blankets.
The hijackers headed for Thokoza on the East Rand.
Beeld heard that neighbours, who had seen the hijacking and kidnapping, tried in vain to contact police.
Threw out the baby
Rena told friends afterwards that the men had stopped, thrown her husband out of the vehicle and fired two shots.
They then threw the baby out and fired another shot.
A shocked Henk Scheepers, chairperson of the Vanderbijlpark Chamber of Commerce, who is a friend and colleague of Eddie's, said: "Rena thought the men had first killed Eddie and then their daughter."
Scheepers said he and some colleagues joined in the search for the family after they had heard of the hijacking and, in the "confusion", someone phoned to say Barnard had been admitted to Natalspruit Hospital.
Scheepers sped off to the hospital, but Barnard had died minutes earlier.
A traumatised Rena told Scheepers at the hospital that she had sat under the blankets the whole time, and heard three shots.
She thought the men had killed her husband and daughter.
The robbers then threw her out of the vehicle and drove off at high speed.
Scheepers said Barnard had been badly wounded and Carli had light injuries to the head and a few scratches.
Carli was recovering with family.
Rena ran to a nearby road and stopped a car, which rushed them to hospital.
Had to hold friend's body
At the hospital there was "chaos" because of a shortage of staff and the doctor on duty asked Scheepers and a friend to help him in theatre to wash the blood from Barnard's body.
Scheepers said it was terrible to have to hold his friend's body while the blood was being washed off.
Scheepers said: "The crime in our land is repugnant and unacceptable."
Police spokesperson Maria Mazibuko, said the family's 4x4 had been recovered on Sunday at Park station.
There have been no arrests yet.