Update by Western Cape Government Health and Wellness on fatal shooting tragedy
Update by Western Cape Government Health and Wellness on fatal shooting tragedy at New Somerset Hospital.
It is with great sadness that we confirm the third death following the fatal shooting tragedy at the New Somerset Hospital yesterday evening.
The SAPS officer who was shot in his head during this horrible incident succumbed to his injuries at 03h15 this morning. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at the South African Police Services.
A full investigation by SAPS is currently underway to determine all the facts of this tragedy, and we will continue to keep the public informed as we learn more.
What we know currently is that a person who was ready for discharge obtained a firearm during an altercation with the police officer who was guarding another patient.
Circumstances are unknown currently on how he managed to obtain a firearm but are currently being investigated
We have also learned of a remarkable story of heroism yesterday evening that resulted in the perpetrator handing over his weapon.
Following the altercation and the shooting, a healthcare worker (who has asked not to be named) went into the ward and spoke directly to the perpetrator. She calmed the shooter down and convinced him to hand over the firearm. Despite the personal risk to her, she stood up to help those around her. This heroism possibly saved many more lives.
During this dark time, we salute the staff in the ward who remained calm, who supported the other patients while all their lives were at risk. We continue to be inspired by their courage and care.
The staff and patients in the ward, as well as the family of the patients who lost their lives, are receiving counselling following this horrific incident. Their wellbeing is our top concern.
Premier Alan Winde visited the hospital yesterday evening to speak to the staff, and this morning Provincial Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight, Reagan Allen, visited the hospital.
Premier Alan Winde said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of three residents during this horrific incident. My deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims of this senseless act. I also want to join the Department in praising our healthcare workers who under the most trying time continued to serve the people of our province. We expect a full investigation into this matter, so that we can understand exactly what happened. This can never be allowed to happen again.”
Provincial Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo conveyed her sympathy to the families of the victims affected by “this tragic senseless incident and wish to applaud the healthcare staff of the New Somerset Hospital for their professional and effective management of the incident going beyond their call of duty.”
Provincial Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight, Reagen Allen added: “I condemn last night’s shooting of the SAPS officer and two other persons that occurred in the New Somerset Hospital, in the strongest possible terms. The disregard for life is deplorable. It is gut wrenching that an officer should lose his life in this manner. We regard an attack on the police, as a direct attack on us all, and this cannot become the norm.”
Allen concluded: “I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family and all loved ones, including the men and women in blue who has been affected by this hideous crime. I’ve already engaged the Provincial Commissioner and I hope to visit the family to personally convey my condolences. It’s awful and heart-breaking.”