Cape Town – An armed response officer has described how a father who intended taking his own life alongside his son, after they took hostages at a Port Elizabeth pharmacy, had told him he was “tired of life and the government”.
Nitrous Security owner Kevin de Wet was the first to arrive at the Aloe Pharmacy in Seaview shortly after noon on Monday, where the 53-year-old former Roodepoort man and his 19-year-old son had begun a seven-and-a-half hour ordeal in which they demanded pharmacists give them lethal injections.
The men, who De Wet said were carrying “seven to eight knives including a machete,” took pharmacists hostage and said they would blow up the building.
It was thanks to the pharmacists, who filled two syringes with tranquilisers to placate the men who believed their contents were lethal, armed response officials and a police Tactical Response Team, that the situation was eventually diffused on Monday night.
”When I arrived the father was at the back of the store and his son at the front,” said De Wet. “I stood at the door, which was half open, and pointed my firearm at the youngster and told him to get on the ground, but he just shook his head and closed the door.”
De Wet then attempted to communicate with the father, asking him a series of questions through the door.
“I asked him why he wanted to do this, and he told me that he had had enough of everything. He said he was sick of the government.
“I then asked him if he didn’t think it was wrong that his son also wanted to take his own life, but he just said, ‘It’s his decision’.”
At that point the father disclosed that he had a military background and that he had built a bomb.
The armed response officer had noticed “about seven or eight” knives, including a machete, lying around the pharmacy floor.
“I also noticed a home-made device. At that point I quickly started evacuating all the shops in the area.”
Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said police had eventually used stun grenades to enter the premises as negotiations had failed.
The two will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Garden Route Media