August 19 2008 at 07:06AM
A Pretoria man has been gunned down while trying to protect his parents from a gang of armed robbers.
Fighting back tears, an emotional Karel Appel on Monday described how his son, Tommy, died while tackling a gang of robbers so that they would not harm his mother and father.
Appel and his wife Amanda were asleep in their Amandasig home in the early hours of Sunday morning when they were awoken by two men holding guns to their heads.
"They kept on telling us to be quiet, but I got such a fright that I jumped up and screamed for Tommy.
"All I remember is Tommy running into our room and then flashes as the guns were fired," said Appel.
He said that as Tommy, 30, ran into their bedroom of their Karee Street home, one of the gunmen fired as their son tried to push them out of the room.
The men then fled, leaving Appel bleeding to death on his parents' bed.
"When I asked him to phone the police he kept on saying that he had been shot and then he collapsed on the bed.
"I ran outside screaming for help. It is all that I could do," the father said. By the time police and paramedics arrived his son was dead.
"Tommy was our everything. We loved him so much and we know that he loved us. He saved us. He gave his life for us," Appel said.
Pointing to where the gunmen had forced open burglar bars, Appel said the men had fled without taking anything from the house.
"The only thing they took was my son's life."
Tommy's mother was too distraught to speak about what had happened.
"I just cannot believe my son is dead," she said.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on August 19, 2008