Tenant, Sonja Ritchie, was shot by home intruders and passed on in hospital

An elderly Pinetown resident succumbed to her gunshot wound and passed on during the early hours of Wednesday when she was shot during a home invasion on Padfield Road on Monday night.

Sonja Ritchie (66), sustained a bullet to her abdomen and passed on in hospital. An armed robber was shot dead and a second suspect was shot in the head by the landlord on the property who intervened when he heard the female tenant scream.

Blue Security community and media liaison officer, Andreas Mathios said the 71-year-old man was not in the main part of the Padfield Road house when three suspects entered the premises. The residents had been watching television with a security gate left unlocked at around 7.45pm when the gang of three suspects gained entry.

“A female tenant screamed when she realised there were intruders on the property and the armed home owner then surprised them when he confronted them in the house and drew his firearm.

The suspects began indiscriminately firing shots and the home owner fired back, shooting one of the suspects dead,” Mathios said.

“A scuffle then broke out between the home owner and the other suspects, and further shots were fired, injuring a second suspect in the head as they wrestled. The home owner had his wits about him and managed to put his finger between the hammer and the firing pin of the suspect’s firearm to prevent the suspect from firing again,” Mathios said.

“During the scuffle the tenant screamed out to the homeowner in fear that the suspect was about to shoot at him again and she was also shot while the men wrestled together,” Mathios said.

“The homeowner’s daughter heard the screams and rushed to their assistance. The injured suspect, who had been shot in the head, then attempted to get up and run away but the daughter managed to stop him and family and neighbours handcuffed him and kept him at the scene until the police and first responders arrived. The third suspect managed to run away,” Mathios said.

Mathios said ER24 paramedics treated the injured at the scene and transported the woman to hospital for treatment.

Trauma counsellors were called to the scene to assist the victims.

Rescue Care paramedics, neighbourhood watch networks, Blue Security, Proforce Security, Fidelity ADT, the Durban Flying Squad, Metro K9 and Pinetown SAPS and other law enforcement teams responded to the scene of the crime.

Mathios advised home owners not to leave doors and security gates unlocked, especially at night.

“Criminals stake out properties before striking and observe the behaviour of their victims, which gives them an additional advantage as well as the element of surprise when they are able to simply walk into the house without any security barriers to tackle.

While criminals can and do bash down doors and security gates these important barriers provide an early warning system for you to be able to get to safety,” Mathios said.

Mathios added that installing outdoor beams in the garden and strip beams on windows provides additional security barriers and a vital early warning system, buying time in an emergency, to lock your family in a safe room from where you can call your security company for help by pressing a remote panic button.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, said, “A 34-year-old man is under police guard in hospital while a 29-year-old was fatally shot during a home invasion in Padfield Park near Pinetown. A gun-battle ensued between the homeowner and the invaders which resulted in one suspect being shot on the shoulder and in the mouth and he died on the scene. Another suspect was shot on the head and was taken to hospital. The victim (tenant) was also shot on the abdomen. A third suspect escaped in a getaway car that was parked outside the yard. Two firearms, a Z88 pistol with a filled off serial number and a CZ pistol belonging to the victim were recovered from the scene. The woman passed away last night in hospital. Pinetown  police are investigating cases of house robbery murder and inquest.”