3 shot dead over genitals

Three men were shot dead and two others critically wounded in a Durban tavern following an argument over the size of male genitals, police said yesterday.

Three men were shot dead and two others critically wounded in a Durban tavern following an argument over the size of male genitals, police said yesterday.

Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said the shooting took place at the Merseyside Restaurant and Bar at the Queensmead Mall in Durban's Umbilo suburb on Wednesday night. Five people were arrested yesterday morning.

Two of those arrested were found in possession of firearms, which police believe were used in the shooting. Two other suspects were suspended police officers.

Inspector Michael Read confirmed that one of the suspects was an officer at the Mayville police station and the other was based at the Point police station.

He said the firearms used in the crime were private weapons. Both officers are currently on suspension over another matter.

The victims - Nick Jansen van Rensburg, 57, Rory Menzes, 40, and 33-year-old Shawn Strydom - died at the scene.

The two survivors were reported to be in a stable condition yesterday.

The argument apparently began when a patron of Indian descent made a comment about the size of a white patron's genitals while both were at the tavern's urinals.

A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "The white man went to the toilet and an Indian guy followed him. While at the urinal, the Indian man told the white man that his penis was bigger than his [that of the white man].

"The white man left the urinal and told his friends about what had happened. That is when the argument started."

Vulgar words were allegedly exchanged. The five Indian men left the restaurant and all five returned with firearms.

Mngomezulu said: "The men opened fire and three victims aged between 30 and 57 years died on the spot. Another two were rushed to St Augustine's Hospital in a critical condition."

Mngomezulu said he believed that as the argument had intensified between the two groups, it had possibly become racially-charged.

A senior member of the restaurant's staff confirmed the shooting and said the initial argument between the two men "had been over genitals".

"That's what initiated it [the argument] and it obviously got out of hand. That's all I'm prepared to say," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

None of the staff members or suspects were injured in the shooting.

The five arrested men are due to appear in the Durban magistrate's court today. - Sapa

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