Tuesday, 27 January 2009

'Help, they're shooting at us!'

26/01/2009 23:08 - (SA)

Buks Viljoen, Beeld

Nelspruit - "Help, they are shooting at us!"

So said the SMS 19-year-old Charise Pretorius sent to her godfather, Charl Oosthuizen, shortly before her 42-year-old father, Chris, was shot and killed.

Chris died in a shooting on Monday at about 01:00 at his home in Stonehenge, Nelspruit.

The two murderers had climbed through the open kitchen window. The window had no burglar bars.

"All evening I had a terrible feeling that something was wrong," Chris's 25-year-old nephew, Jan, told Beeld on Monday.

'I saw a shadow'

Jan was watching TV on the couch in the lounge while his cousin, Chané, 15, was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

"At one stage I saw a shadow moving in the passage, but I thought it was Charise (Chané's sister) going to the bathroom.

"As I entered the passage, I walked smack-bang into a burglar," Jan said.

He ran to Chris's bedroom, where he and his wife, Karenita, 38, were sleeping.

"Oom Chris jumped up and ran past me.

"As he went through the door, shots rang out. He collapsed right there in the doorway," Jan said.

He was apparently hit in the neck and chest. A ricochet fragment hit Jan in his right hip.

In the meantime, Jan had unlocked the safe in the main bedroom and taken out a 9mm pistol. He and Karenita then hid in the main bedroom's en suite bathroom.

"We realised Chané was still sleeping in the lounge."

At that point he didn't know where Charise was.

Declared dead on the scene

As the murderers fled through the kitchen window, one of them fired one last shot.

Three 9mm shells were found in the house.

Oosthuizen, Chris's best friend over the past 20 years, arrived at the house shortly after the shooting in response to the SMS.

Paramedics declared Chris dead on the scene.

Inspector Dawie Pretorius (no relation), police spokesperson, said the electrical fence on the garden wall had been cut; that's how the criminals gained entry to the property.

Nobody has been arrested yet.

Chris and Oosthuizen both worked for Canon in the Lowveld.

- Beeld


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