2007-03-05 : Cop devastated after colleague shot his son

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2007-03-05 : Cop devastated after colleague shot his son

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2007-03-26 07:22

Cop devastated after colleague shot his son

March 05 2007 at 10:34AM

By Caryn Dolley

The wife of a Brackenfell police officer in Cape Town, who shot dead their
three children before trying to kill himself said she is trying to prevent
similar incidents and is devastated her colleague, a Kuils River police
officer, fatally shot his 18-month-old son and then himself at the weekend.


In August, Charlotte van der Westhuizen's husband, Marius, killed their
children in front of her.

A police constable herself, Van Der Westhuizen said she had often worked
with Denzel Owies, 27, who shot dead his son Deo then fatally wounded
himself on Saturday. He died in hospital.

'Most officers don't want to talk and we can't predict what they're going to do'

Owies had been at a club with his wife, Cindy, and a group of friends when
he went to fetch Deo at a neighbour.

He went into his house and shot his son three times with his service pistol
before shooting himself in the head.

"I worked with Denzel often. He was a lovely man. I just wish he would've
spoken to me. Maybe I could've helped him. But that's the problem. Most
officers don't want to talk and we can't predict what they're going to do,"
Van Der Westhuizen said.

She said the South African Police Service offered an employee assistance
programme.

"There is sufficient help provided if the police member is willing to be
helped. But these guys are very tough and don't want to speak.

"I spoke to officers who were on the scene at Denzel's house. They said they
were fine, but tomorrow they may not feel fine.

"I'm urging police personnel to come forward and talk. I feel if I can help
my colleagues I can help myself. I'm in a unique situation because I know
what Denzel's wife feels now and I may be able to help," said Van Der
Westhuizen.

SA Police Union provincial chairperson Joseph Manuel said it was alarming
that five shooting incidents had occurred within seven months.

"These shootings seem to be increasing and one killing in this fashion is
one killing too many," he said.

Manuel said they were trying to get police management to do more to prevent
such incidents.

"I don't think the employment assistance programme is being utilised to the
fullest. People working in the programme should be more visible at the
stations explaining what they do and how they can help," he said.

At the beginning of February, Charl Sharnick, 27, a constable at the Paarl
East Police Station, shot dead his wife Mesade, 28, and father-in-law, Tom
Meyer, 60.

He also shot and wounded his mother-in-law, Clara Meyer, 58.

In November, Kuils River police officer Thanduxolo Yandisa Nzumkuma, 29,
shot dead his pregnant 28-year-old wife Bulelwa.

An Eerste River police officer killed himself after shooting dead his
ex-girlfriend, Nomonde Mgquba, in August.

This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Times on March 05, 2007
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GOSA
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