April 07 2010 at 09:16AM
By Graeme Hosken
A Pretoria matriculant was shot dead by one of three men moments after he scared them off when they tried to break into his family's smallholding.
Ernest Hoon, 18, who was due to write his home schooling exams within the next two weeks, was killed during the early hours yesterday.
Ernest, along with his sister, Kalike, and their father, Deon, had just chased off the three men who had tried to break into his bedroom.
Ernest was shot moments after he got into bed and was about to turn off his bedside light.
It is believed that the killers, who had been chased off, returned to the house and waited for Ernest to get into bed.
Watching him through a partly opened curtain, one of the men - who has yet to be caught - pushed a gun through a window and opened fire on him.
The bullet struck Ernest in the elbow, then tore through his chest and stomach, fatally wounding him.
Screaming to his mother, Renette, that he had been shot and urging her to be careful, Ernest ran to the family's gun safe. He died as he was trying to get out a revolver which he wanted to use to protect his mother and sister.
As Ernest lay dying in front of his mother, his killers smashed his bedroom window, grabbed a laptop computer and fled.
"He was going to protect us. He died while trying to protect us," said Hoon, reliving the ordeal.
Hoon, whose ex-husband lives in a nearby flat on the smallholding, said she was in the bedroom when the robbers launched their first attack.
"I heard Ernest scream. Then he came running out of his bedroom yelling for his sister. He immediately phoned his father and the three of them rushed out of the house.
"They returned when they were unable to find the men. I thought it was over and made tea before everyone went back to bed," she said.
Moments later, Hoon was woken by the gunshot and her son's screams.
"I can't believe it. He had just said goodnight to me and told me that he loved me when the shot went off.
"I did not know what to do. I just remember him yelling he had been shot and telling me to be careful. I heard him run down the passage to the gun safe. Then nothing," she said.
Kalike said they had tried to resuscitate her brother, but there was nothing they could do.
"We tried three times, but he just gurgled. It was just too late," she said, fighting back tears.
Describing her brother as a serious person who lived life to the fullest, Kalike, said their world had been ripped apart.
"There is a massive hole of nothingness in our life. They've robbed of us of someone beautiful who was extremely loving and kind."
Ernest's mother said her son's dream was to be a lawyer "so that he could make a difference to the lives of people, no matter who they were or where they came from".
"They killed him for a laptop. My son died, in the end, for nothing."
No arrests have been made.
This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on April 07, 2010