Ex-disco muso killed

A FORMER Shangaan disco musIcian has been shot dead by the police.

Phineus Special Chauke, 56, who was mentally ill, was shot and killed in Lulekane Unit-B outside Phalaborwa on Monday.

Limpopo police spokesperson Superintendent Ronel Otto said that Chauke had allegedly ran amok at his house and smashed all the windowpanes.

She said the "mad man" went to another house in the same unit and smashed windowpanes, plates and furniture and threatened to kill the man of the house.

Otto said Chauke searched all the rooms in the house for the man until members of the family, who feared for their lives, called the police.

"When our members arrived at the scene, he threatened to kill them with a panga and they shot him dead."

Police are investigating a case of murder against one of their members who shot Chauke three times.

A case has been forwarded to the Independent Complaints Directorate.

An eyewitness and neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about nine police officers arrived at the scene and fired several warning shots.

"Chauke was standing still next to the house holding a hammer in his left hand and a panga in the other hand. Police asked him to hand over the weapons but he just stood motionless and they shot him in the hand with the hammer," the eyewitness said. He still did not move and police fired another shot, hitting him in the right arm.

"As if that was not enough the same policeman fired the last shot into his head and he fell down bleeding profusely," the eyewitness added.

Chauke's brother, Frank Chauke, accused the police of negligence in carrying out their duty. He said they had no right to kill a suspect - even if they suspected that he was dangerous.

"There is no law above that of the Constitution of this country that permits police officers to kill people."

He said his brother was diagnosed as being mentally handicapped by a doctor in 2004. He was always moving around, talking to himself and trashing things.

"I will not fold my arms when my brother was shot and killed like a common criminal," he said crying uncontrollably.