December 18 2007 at 06:34AM
By Barry Bateman
A family braai turned into a horror story when intruders stormed a home and held a gun to a three-year-old while her grandfather and relatives emptied their pockets in a bid to appease eight armed men.
As the attackers fled the Erasmia home on the outskirts of Pretoria on Sunday, a shootout with police ensued. One of the thugs was shot and arrested.
In another Pretoria attack on Sunday, a man was shot dead and his wife and daughter were critically wounded for the sake of a cellphone.
'There was an excellent response from police'
Police said three men gained entry to the Menlo Park home around 11pm. The family arrived home from a trip and were surprised by robbers.
A Mr Petrou was shot dead and his wife and daughter critically wounded. "The two suspects escaped with only a cellphone," police said.
A security guard at nearby Hillside Security Village heard several gunshots and went to investigate.
The intruders had fled but he found a man dead inside his home and two injured women in the garden.
The Erasmia grandfather, who did not want to be named for fear of endangering his family, said about 25 family members were having a braai when gunmen stormed into their home.
"There were about eight of them. They threatened the women and children, then grabbed my three-year-old granddaughter, put a gun to her head and demanded money. We gave them what we could: our cellphones and the little cash we had in our pockets."
The man said the gunmen searched the house for about 30 minutes, then panicked when a neighbour sounded the alarm.
"The Lord Almighty was with us. There was an excellent response from police, who were here within three minutes.
"As they ran out of the garage, the police arrived. About 30 shots were fired," said the grandfather.
His granddaughter was now too scared to visit his home.
The wounded attacker is in hospital under guard. Police seized two pistols.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on December 18, 2007