Saturday, 16 December 2006

Elderly targeted in Gauteng attacks

December 15 2006 at 06:44AM

By Barry Bateman

Within little more than 12 hours in Garsfontein, a 76-year-old man was shot dead and an elderly couple assaulted in their homes in separate attacks.

Ray Rausch was shot in the chest moments after arriving home from church on Wednesday night. That morning, Hans Coetzee, his wife Dalene (both 85) and domestic worker Mary Mnisi were held up and assaulted by three armed men.

Rauche's son Anthony said: "My father arrived home at about 9.40pm from choir practice at the Queenswood Catholic Church. My mother was half asleep in the bedroom with the dogs," he said.

'The crime is unacceptable'

Rauche's widow, Connie, said: "My dogs were going berserk. The next thing there was an intruder in the room pointing a gun at me.

"He indicated with his finger over his lips for me to keep quiet. He walked into the passage. I heard a shot go off. There were no sounds of a struggle, no commotion," she said.

Anthony said his father was found lying dead at the front door of his Eleanor Street home. "It appears he had been shot in cold blood. The only thing taken was a digital camera. After they shot my father they fled," he said.

The family spoke fondly of a man who was retired but involved in his church and very active. Rausch was a founding members of the Magnolia Running Club and had finished the Comrades seven times. "Just last week he had sent away entry forms for races he wanted to do next year. He had also bought a new running top for the new season," said Connie.

She showed a picture of her husband with a gold medal for winning the 10km track event at the Gauteng North Masters' Championship.

'It's not safe'

Rausche's son Derek lashed out at the government. "The crime is unacceptable. It does not help to talk about it; the government must do something about it. They are the only ones who can do something about crime by deploying more police officers on the streets."

Around the corner in Keeshond Street, Coetzee, sporting a bandage on his head covering stitches, said he got out of bed at 7am on Wednesday and made tea for himself and Dalene. "I opened the back door for our domestic worker and a side door for some air.

"While I was in the shower the door opened and there was a man standing in front of me with a revolver in my face.

"At first I did not realise what was happening, then it dawned on me that this was a robbery.

"Three suspects pulled me out of the shower and threw me on the floor. They hit me over the head with something. I pretended I was knocked out so they wouldn't hit me again.

"They tied my arms behind my back with steel wire," he said pointing to black and blue marks around his wrists.

Coetzee said he was dragged to the room where his wife was lying in bed. He said a back operation had left his wife almost bed-ridden.

Dalene said the men asked where the safe and guns were. "When I told them where the safe was and that we had no guns, they told me to keep quiet.

"They slapped me in the face when I asked them how I was supposed to tell them where the safe was when I was supposed to keep quiet. I thought I better not get cheeky or they will really hurt me," she said.

Coetzee said the suspects forced his wife to get out of bed and use her walker to show them where the safe was. He said they took what they could and let his wife return to bed.

The men ransacked the house looking for valuables for about an hour. "They eventually gave up and left. My domestic worker untied herself and untied me. I pushed the panic button and called the police."

Coetzee said they were traumatised and planned to move out of the house they had called home for 24 years. First they wanted to find a place that was safe. "I think if we had resisted the men would not have thought twice to shoot.

"We used to feel safe here; now we have to lock up and stay inside from morning until night. We have a garden and veranda which we can't use because it's not safe."

Police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt confirmed Rausch's murder. He said were investigating the matter.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on December 15, 2006


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