A chilling murder-suicide has rocked the Phoenix area after a husband is alleged to have shot his wife in the head and turned the gun on himself following a domestic dispute in Fanpalm Gardens, Palmview, on Sunday night.

The couple has been identified as Bereen ‘Bree’ Smith (33), a nurse in the psychiatric ward at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital and Zane Smith (28), self-employed.

The incident is alleged to have occurred in view of the deceased couple’s two minor children aged three and six-years-old. Phoenix SAPS communications officer,
Cpt L Naidoo, confirmed the incident and said, “It is alleged by the witness that he arrived at the deceased’s house as there was a domestic dispute.
On arrival he found the six-year-old child in the rain crying and the gate to the house was locked.

The deceased, Zane, had a firearm in his hand and stated that he is fed up with the domestic issues with his wife. The witness claimed that he tried to talk to Zane to open the gate and hand over the firearm. He further alleged that whilst still talking to him (Zane), he (the deceased) fired one shot to his wife’s head and then to himself.”

A case of murder and inquest is being investigated and a 9mm pistol was recovered on scene. Members of Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), the South African police and a private ambulance service stood off at the scene of the murder-suicide which sent shockwaves through the community as members of public and residents gathered outside the fatal scene.

RUSA boss, Prem Balram, said, “At approximately 9:07pm, the RUSA Phoenix Operations Centre received several calls from residents in the area reporting shots being fired on the property. Upon arrival, the body of a woman was found lying in a pool of blood in an outbuilding kitchen. She had sustained a gunshot wound to the head. The body of her husband was found in the passage. He had also sustained a gunshot wound to the head. It is alleged that the couple were involved in a domestic dispute when the man drew his firearm and shot his wife. He allegedly then turned the gun on himself and shot himself in the head. The incident occurred in the presence of their two children who were not injured during the shooting.”

Balram added, “Information received is that the firearm used in the shooting belonged to the deceased husband’s late father and the gun was removed from his mum’s home without her consent. This information could not be confirmed. The motive behind the shooting has not been established at this stage.”

Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, a MGMH board member, who wished to remain anonymous, said Bree Smith was a humble person who was dedicated to her job. “Being a nurse in a specialized field, Bree had a special way with her patients and she was exemplary in patient care. Her death is a huge loss to the hospital and the patients. On behalf of MGMH board and hospital, we extend our deepest condolences to Bree’s bereaved family especially her two children. We wish them peace and strength during this heartbreaking time. Bree will be sorely missed at MGMH,” the board member said.

Phoenix CPF chairman, Umesh Singh, said, “Two more deaths in Phoenix, two more lives lost. The families, friends and community have been left reeling from this tragedy. Two children are now orphaned. It is an absolute heartbreaking tragedy that a family has been ripped apart and left to suffer in this manner.

I urge couples who are experiencing strain and individuals who are
under pressure to seek help immediately. Speak to a trusted family member, a religious leader, or friend. Seek help at the many professional organisations out there. There is always a solution to any problem. Ending lives and shedding blood is never the answer. We mourn with these two little children who have been left to face this horrific double blow.”