Friday, 21 July 2006

Pensioner fights off gun-wielding attackers

Hanti Otto

July 21 2006 at 04:58AM

"I screamed. And when they told me to shut up or they'd kill me, I just screamed louder."

Elza Browning, 60, of Doringkloof, Centurion, had no intention of dying without a fight when she was attacked by two robbers on Wednesday afternoon.

In stark contrast to her screaming, she recalled the almost inaudible clicks of the trigger as one robber tried to shoot her husband.

"While I screamed and fought off the men, one pointed the gun at Patrick (her husband). He pulled the trigger. I counted between five and seven clicks. But not one shot went off. I assume it jammed," Browning said on Thursday.

'I thought he was going to tear my finger off'

Her body was aching from the fight she had put up, coupled with the fact that she had recently had an operation.

Browning said she went outside the house at about 4.30pm. The gate was open as she wanted to bring the dustbin inside. "I saw two men. I thought they were looking for work. Then I realised their body language was very aggressive.

"The next moment they attacked me, shaking and shoving me."

She started to scream, calling it an "animal instinct" to survive and a refusal to just allow them to take "what I have worked for all my life".

During the struggle one attacker grabbed her around the throat from behind, pressing a gun against her head. The other pulled at her hands where she clenched her purse and car keys.

'I heard clicks as he pulled the trigger'

"The attacker pulled so hard on the keys, of which the ring was around my finger, that I thought he was going to tear my finger off."

The man with the gun shouted at her to be quiet, threatening kill her. His accomplice suddenly ran to her vehicle. Browning said she did not even realise he had managed to get hold of the key.

Reacting to the commotion outside, her husband opened the front door. "The robber pointed his gun at Patrick's face. He screamed at Patrick. I heard clicks as he pulled the trigger," Browning said.

Then one robber drove off with her vehicle and the gunman fled. Browning saw him three houses away, laughing. "I know they say don't put up a fight, but I just thought: why should I surrender or give up?"

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 21, 2006


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