April 4, 2006

S.African detective kills 8 in shooting rampage

By Ed Stoddard

KAGISO, South Africa (Reuters) - A South African detective
shot dead eight people including four fellow officers and a
one-year-old baby before police killed him, a spokeswoman for
the force said on Tuesday.

The killing spree in Kagiso township west of Johannesburg
was shocking even by the standards of South Africa, which has
one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

"We are still trying to establish a motive," said police
spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht.

She said the detective killed three women and the infant
baby on Monday night. He then went to his police station in
Kagiso where he pumped bullets into four of his colleagues.

The officer continued his rampage in the Sebokeng township
south of Johannesburg where he shot and wounded his brother.

"He was finally shot dead himself during a confrontation
with police in the early hours of Tuesday morning,"
Martins-Engelbrecht said.

She added that police were still trying to establish what
the officer's relationship was to the women and child he
murdered and what weapons he used.

Visibly shocked police milled around their station in this
small industrial township, whose residents are largely black
working and lower middle class. Kagiso has none of the squalor
associated with black townships. It has proper housing, water
and other social amenities, reporters visiting the area said.

"We are all traumatized. He was a normal guy," said a
police reservist, referring to the detective.

Kagiso's police station had ground to a virtual halt on
Tuesday. Resident Victoria Pakkies who visited seeking a police
report certifying a lost item returned home empty-handed but
said she understood.

"We are all very shocked," she said.

"It's a shock and a half," added David Masidi, an elderly
bystander. "Its a blow to the community. They (police officers)
were always very nice, always helpful."

South Africa's crime rate is fueled in part by abject
poverty and glaring disparities in income.