November 02 2009 at 10:50AM
By Graeme Hosken
A Pretoria butcher has been shot dead while trying to save his staff and customers from a gang of heavily armed robbers.
Pieter Woest, 56, was shot in the back after seven robbers entered the Klipeiland Butchery, outside Bronkhorstspruit, on Saturday morning.
Staff were dressed in their Blue Bulls supporters' jerseys and looking forward to the Currie Cup final.
'Everything was over very fast'
The gang, posing as customers, split into groups before turning on staff and customers.
While some of the robbers ordered security guards and customers to get down on the floor, others clambered over counters and forced staff to open the safe and tills.
It is believed that Woest ran out from an office in another building to investigate after he heard shots, and encountered at least three gunmen. As he turned back, they shot him twice in the back.
A traumatised Tokkie Human, who was serving a customer, said everything was over very fast.
"It was so quick. The clock on my till said 12.20pm when they attacked, and when they left it was 12.24pm," she said.
'He coughed several times and died'
The gunmen had stormed in and thrown customers, staff and the security guards to the floor.
Human said she recognised four of the men as having been at the butchery on Thursday.
"I was standing outside talking to a customer when I saw them on Thursday. One of them bought a cool drink while the others bought R10 worth of bones."
Another four men were in a combi in the parking lot, waiting and watching.
Human said that when the first shot went off, she thought they were all going to die.
"A man just started shooting. Then they all ran outside where the other gunmen started shooting as well. I thought they were going to kill all of us," she said.
She said she ran outside when she saw Woest lying bleeding on the ground outside.
"He tried to say something, but there was too much blood coming out of his mouth and nose. He tried to talk, but just coughed several times and died," she said.
Woest's wife, Anita - who was present during the attack - and daughter Marli, 16, were too traumatised to speak to the press.
"I just can't talk now. I don't know what to say," was all Anita could say.
Human said about R40 000 had been taken.
Police spokesman Captain Sipho Zulu said murder and robbery charges were being investigated.
No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the suspects should phone Crime Stop at 08600 10111.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on November 02, 2009