June 26 2008 at 10:29AM
Score of young schoolchildren were left traumatised when a Bishop Lavis man was shot and injured in a robbery and hijacking as he was waiting to fetch his granddaughter at Holy Cross Sisters' School in Bellville on Wednesday.
Victor Hector, 58, apparently withdrew R8 000 from a nearby FNB bank before driving to pick up his Grade 4 granddaughter and her friend.
As he parked his white Opel Corsa bakkie outside the school, three men approached the car, smashed the driver's seat window and shot him three times - twice in the left leg and once in the right leg.
As he got out of the vehicle and hobbled towards an opening in the fence, the men jumped in the bakkie and sped off towards Bloemhof street, near the exit to the N1.
'It seems as though the hijackers knew that Mr Hector would be taken to Louis Leipoldt'
The bakkie was found outside Louis Leipoldt hospital in Bellville less than an hour later, at about the same time as Hector was admitted there.
He underwent surgery on Wednesday.
"It's quite strange. It seems as though the hijackers knew that Mr Hector would be taken to Louis Leipoldt, the closest emergency hospital, and that they decided to leave the car there because they were only interested in the money," said school principal Alfreda Bekkers.
Bekkers spent the afternoon showing the school's CCTV footage to police, who carefully studied the movements of cars and people into and out of the property.
The footage showed how a concerned father tried to chase after the hijackers.
'Two teachers tried to help him until an ambulance arrived'
Bekkers was in her office preparing report cards when a teacher alerted her on the intercom that something was wrong, because children on the grounds seemed distressed.
The pre-primary to Grade 2 pupils leave school at 1pm, but Grade 3-7s go home at 2pm. Some of those who were heading for the parking area at 2pm saw Hector in shock and bleeding lying on a bench.
Two teachers tried to help him until an ambulance arrived.
The area was later cordoned off by the police.
Hector's daughter, who was called by the school, accompanied her father to hospital.
A witness said the parents who witnessed the incident were in shock. One woman, who was parked right next to Hector, had an infant on her back seat.
Bekkers said while the teachers tried to keep the children away from the scene, those who had witnessed anything, either outside or through the windows, would be provided with trauma counselling.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said they were convinced the man was targeted because of the cash withdrawal.
He said the suspects seemingly followed the victim from Tyger Valley mall.
He said the suspects were still at large.
A priest has been asked to comfort the children in Holy Mass at 8am on Wednesday.
A man who witnessed the shooting said: "He picks her up every day at 2pm."
"Some of the children are traumatised. They saw the man lying there. Some kids walked around him, gave him a wide berth. I saw some kids closing their eyes (as they walked past)."
Speaking to the Cape Times less than an hour after the shooting on Wednesday afternoon, the witness said he was "still shaking" after seeing the three men shoot Hector, through his passenger window.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Times on June 26, 2008