Durban — An elderly man who took his family hostage for most of Tuesday afternoon is alleged to have taken his life due to infidelity.
Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) spokesperson Prem Balram said that allegations of infidelity led to a 65-year-old man’s suicide during a hostage situation that lasted nearly six hours on Jacaranda Avenue in Mountview, Verulam.
Balram said that at 12.46pm, residents contacted Rusa after a 65-year-old man entered a relative’s residence near his home and held a 68-year-old woman, her 38-year-old daughter and 18 and 12-year-old grandsons hostage.
He said that Rusa officers arrived on the scene and learnt that the man had shot the 18-year-old.
“Officers surrounded the house and negotiated the release of the injured teenager. The man complied and allowed the male to exit the house. He was shot in his left hand. He was treated for a gunshot wound by Rusa paramedics at a safe location while the area remained locked down,” Balram said.
He said that according to the hostage taker, he suspected his wife of having an extramarital affair. He believed the 38-year-old female hostage had knowledge of the relationship and was in support of the affair. The unemployed truck driver requested that his wife be transported to the scene and allowed to enter the home but his request was denied by law enforcement as it was believed that he intended shooting her.
Balram said it was confirmed that the man did not own a licensed firearm.
He said that a hostage negotiator from the South African Police Service attempted to de-escalate the situation while members of the SAPS Special Task Force took up tactical positions around the home.
“At 6.12pm, SAPS officials breached the front door.
“The body of the suspect was located in a bedroom. He sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest,” Balram said.
He said that Rusa medics examined the man and declared him dead at 6.19pm.
Balram said that according to one of the victims, the suspect spoke to his wife telephonically before he proceeded into the bedroom. They heard a gunshot shortly thereafter.
“The three hostages were traumatised. No further injuries were reported,” Balram added.
Earlier, the Daily News reported that an armed man is alleged to be holding his family hostage in Verulam.
Balram said that on arrival, officers were informed that an 18-year-old male was shot in his left arm by his 65-year-old uncle. The teenager’s 68-year-old grandmother, 38-year-old mother and 12-year-old brother were in the house at the time of the incident. The suspect is armed with a pistol. He released the injured teenager after officers negotiated his release. He held the rest of the family hostage.
Police had not commented by the time of publication.