15/10/2007 09:52 - (SA)
Pietermaritzburg - The community of Woodlands was reeling in horror on Sunday night after a double murder of two women, thought to be two separate botched hijackings, rocked the area.
Residents were numb with shock as word spread that one of the victims was ex-Witness photographer and crime reporter Elaine Anderson, 59, who was on her way to church at the time of the shooting.
Hundreds of residents and Anderson's friends and family gathered at the crime scene in Magnolia Road, some weeping, other staring blankly at Anderson's VW Polo, which crashed into a barrier after rolling down Hickory Road.
A large police contingent cordoned off a large area as forensic investigators sifted through evidence.
Piecing the scene together, police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said that Anderson was on her way to the Old Apostolic Church on the corner of Hickory and Magnolia roads at about 19:30. In Hickory Road, she was approached by two people who fired a shot at her, hitting her in the side of her abdomen. Anderson's car rolled down the road across Magnolia and slammed into a barrier there. She died on the scene.
The hijackers then ran down an embankment into Otto's Bluff Road where they shot another woman motorist in the head. She lost control of her vehicle, which plunged down a steep embankment and came to rest above houses there.
Anderson's son Wesley told The Witness she is survived by her husband, Reginald, four children and 10 grandchildren. "I don't know what to say. This is so unexpected. We are in a state of shock." He said police came to his home to inform him of his mother's death.
Anderson's husband was at the crime scene but was later taken home, when he was overcome with grief. Some of the family were taken to see a local doctor for the shock they were suffering.
Wesley said Anderson had enjoyed her retirement and had been kept busy doing a lot of sewing with her spare time, between looking after grandchildren and pursuing photography.
'There is no law and order in this country'
Her brother, Ralph Kleynhans, expressed his grief and anger at Anderson's death. "There is no more law and order in this country. They are finishing us in our houses."
A neighbour, Marilyn Raymond, wiped away her tears as she described Anderson as a "caring mother, sister and friend" to the community.
"She was so helpful and cocooned us in her love. She was always there for us. There is a huge sense of shock. We won't accept this."
Other community members were quietly angry, some saying that street lighting in the area is insufficient, and that for the sake of safety, the street lights must be improved.
A neighbour who asked not to be named said that she heard the gunshots and then heard another neighbour calling her and her husband from outside.
"He warned us to keep an eye on our car, which was parked outside. We thought the shots came from someone fighting. I ran outside and then I saw Elaine's car. I looked inside and recognised her and then ran to call her family. We are always bragging that we feel so safe here."
It is believed that two young teenagers witnessed the incident, and they were questioned by police at the scene.
Police were unable to release the identity of the other woman killed in the incident.
Chris Botha of Netcare 911 said that paramedics tried to stabilise her but that she was critically injured. "They placed her on a ventilator and rushed her to St Anne's hospital but tragically she died soon after they arrived."
No arrests have yet been made.