It is distressing to hear of another good cop being killed.
We need an automatic death penalty for cop killers. We need the death penalty back fullstop.
PS: Why is it necessary to mention that two of the gang members were white when the race of perpetrators is NEVER, NEVER mentioned when the perpetrators are black? Are we to presume then that the rest of the gang were black and not green Martians?
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What was supposed to be the start of a Pretoria family's seaside holiday turned into a tragedy when, instead of being bid farewell by her husband, Lunet Botha was greeted by his station commander at her front door with the news of his death.
Inspector Jaco Botha, 37, a senior Pretoria police officer, was gunned down in an ambush as he responded to an ATM bombing by a gang of AK47-wielding gunmen during the early hours of on Wednesday morning.
Describing Lunet Botha's smile as the police vehicle with its flashing lights arrived at the couple's Pyramid's home, Villieria police station commissioner, Superintendent Kushie Nair, said her (Botha's) face had lit up.
"She thought it was her husband who had come to say goodbye, but when I told her who I was she broke down.
"She just knew that something had happened to him," said Nair, fighting back tears.
His son, Ulrich, who celebrated his birthday three weeks ago, and his wife were due to fly to Cape Town ahead of him.
Botha was supposed to have gone on leave on Thursday and the plan was that he would have joined them on their holiday.
The family, according to colleagues, had been planning the holiday for months.
The 10-man gang blew open an Absa ATM at the Engen garage on the corner of CR Swart and Lynette streets in Kilner Park.
'Everyone was cool, calm and in control'
The Pretoria News has learnt that the gunmen may have earlier spotted Botha and his partner, Inspector Pieter Otto, as they searched an open veld several hundred metres away, together with Inspector Guy Weilbach and Constable Kallie Schlichting of the Pretoria Dog Unit, after they received reports of a group of housebreakers fleeing through it.
The gang, two of whose members were apparently white, launched their ambush as the police officers raced to the garage after receiving reports of people tampering with the ATM.
"They were blocked in, cornered, trapped and then shot at," police spokesperson Inspector Klaas van der Kooi.
The dog unit members managed to drive through the ambush as the gunmen opened fire, but Botha stopped in the midst of the attackers when he saw what was happening.
Several gunmen blocked his retreat with a getaway vehicle while a lone gunman strategically positioned near the petrol station opened fire on his vehicle, with a single shot hitting Botha in the head as he tried to reverse.
None of the gunmen has been caught.
Van der Kooi confirmed the gunmen had breached the ATM, but declined to say how much money was taken.
It is, however, believed that of the more than R200 000 that was in the ATM, less than R13 000 was stolen.
A police officer who arrived at the "war zone" within minutes of the killing said: " These guys were experts. They knew exactly what to do and how to carry out their mission."
An eyewitness, a former police crime scene investigator, said he was asleep in his house nearby, when he heard loud banging noises.
Investigating, he saw men fleeing from the ATM before a "massive" explosion erupted followed by a "firestorm" as gunmen opened fire on police.
"I saw a guy aiming at a police vehicle from beside a tree next to our house. He then opened, fire shooting the driver.
"There were two white guys who were in charge. Everyone was cool, calm and in control.
"There was nothing that I could do. It was a slaughter," he said.
Elsa van der Merwe, whose garden wall was knocked down by Botha's car, said she had been terrified. "We heard a massive explosion, gunfire and then a policeman screaming for help. When we ran outside we saw him lying on the ground with blood everywhere.
"Seeing his wedding ring and knowing that he had a family was horrifying," she said.
Asked about their holiday, a devastated Lunet said she did not want to talk about it.
Describing her husband, she said Ulrich and his work were his life.
"From the day he finished school when he became a policeman to his death, police work was his life.
"He only ever wanted to be a policeman," she said of her husband of seven years. Asked how Ulrich was coping, Lunet said her son kept on saying that his dad was safe in heaven with their pit-bull Mufasa.
Nair said being a policeman's wife herself, what Lunet had experienced was something she (Nair) would never want to experience.
"When the call came through that Botha was dead I prayed to God that this was something that I would never have to go through," she said.
"He did not deserve to be slaughtered," said a colleague, while explaining how Botha had often talked about the romantic surprises he had organised for his wife on the holiday.