September 21 2009 at 10:08AM
By Hannes Myburgh
Karen Nagel tried to keep armed robbers from entering her home - but as she struggled to close the door on them one stuck a pistol through the opening and fired at her.
Now just three days after her son, Johan Nagel, celebrated his 23rd birthday he is at her bedside where she was last night declared brain-dead.
Doctors at Glenwood Hospital in Benoni expected to get a second opinion on her diagnosis late last night.
Karen and her husband, Jan, were watching television at about 9.30pm in their Springs home on Saturday night when their three dogs suddenly started barking in the backyard. Karen went to investigate and Jan came after her.
When she reached the patio she noticed some men just outside the sliding door leading to the backyard. Shouting for her husband, she struggled to slam shut the door while the men wrestled to keep it open.
Jan had grabbed a poker from the fireplace and was rushing to his wife's aid when one of the men stuck a pistol through the opening in the door and fired at Karen.
The bullet hit her in the back of her head. The men then fired a shot at Jan, then fled.
The first shot missed him prompting the men to turn back and fire a second shot which grazed his right arm before lodging in the roof. It is suspected five shots were fired in total with .45 calibre and 9mm pistols used in the incident.
Nothing was taken after the shooting.
Karen fell in the doorway and her husband made her comfortable on the floor before phoning their son.
Their relatives who live down the road rushed to their house after hearing shots. Some rushed to the backyard and through the back gate to follow the suspects.
Although only two were seen at the house, five men were seen running away into the veld. The police have been accused of responding late allowing the robbers time to flee.
Police spokeswoman senior superintendent Noxolo Kweza said the allegations about the police's actions would be investigated.
Johan arrived 15 minutes after his father's call and found Jan cradling Karen on his lap. At the time she was still conscious and communicated with her family in gestures.
Shortly after the incident, Johan, Jan and other family members started calling 10111, 112 and 911.
Paramedics arrived at about 10.30pm and tried to stabilise Karen before she was taken to Glenwood Hospital in Benoni. The first police unit arrived only 45 minutes later.
Last night, Karen was kept on life support while tests were being done to ascertain whether there was any chance of saving her life.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on September 21, 2009