The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating a fatal shoot-out between a police officer and alleged hijackers in Phillipi, in which a 12-year-old boy was killed.
According to reports, Sisonke Vuthela, aged 12 from the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Brown’s Farm was hit in the neck by a stray bullet while running for cover during the shoot-out, approximately 400m away from his home on Friday afternoon.
The boy’s uncle, Simpiwe Vuthela, told reporters that Sisonke had been helping to wash a car when the shooting broke out.
According to Vuthela, “Residents who were there during the incident reported that the police officer’s car was being washed and he was inside the car when the suspects fired shots in an attempt to scare him and hijack the car.”
He said, “When the gunshots went off, people including Sisonke ran for cover, but he was unfortunately hit when the police officer allegedly fired back at the suspects. He died on the way to the hospital,”.
Vuthela said the officer would sometimes go to the mini-car wash and let the youngsters wash his car.
“We don’t want to say much at this point. The family is still trying to come to terms with the heartbreaking incident, especially his mom and grandmother. They have been hit hard. We are hoping that justice will be served,” he said.
The family is hoping to lay Sisonke to rest at a funeral in the Eastern Cape this weekend.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut confirmed the investigation saying: “The investigation regarding the death of the 12-year-old boy is being conducted by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) due to the possible involvement of a SAPS member.”
Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola said: “Ipid is investigating the death of a child as a result of police action, this is after an incident that occurred in Ramaphosa Informal Settlement in Browns Farm.”