Widower facing unemployment kills three children‚ then himself
Hours before a troubled former train driver shot his three children dead‚ before turning the gun on himself‚ he took to his Facebook page where he begged God to help him.
"Lord‚ please hold my hand firmly tonight‚" the Germiston man‚ who was widowed in October 2016‚ wrote in Afrikaans on Monday.
One of his social media friends had reached out after his final ambiguous post‚ offering help‚ but it was too late.
"I will pray for you … contact me …. I know an organisation could maybe help you. Where do you live?" the person wrote.
Hours after this‚ messages of 'rest in peace' [RIP] were flooding the man's page. "RIP to the … family who died together last night‚" one person wrote.
Captain Lesetje Mathobela said that police had been summoned to the scene shortly after 2.30am on Tuesday morning after the man's neighbour in Elsburg had heard numerous gunshots coming from the house.
"The son had been shot in the corridor of the house while the two daughters were shot while they were in bed‚" Mathobela said.
He is not being named until his next-of-kin have been informed of the tragedy.
His three children were in their 30s.
Police have not found a suicide note on the scene.
For weeks prior to his death‚ the man had poured his heart out on his social media page‚ sharing his depressed state and his fears.
On May 17 he posted: "Looking for a job please. The company where I worked has been placed under liquidation and now we are all out of work. Pray for us all."
Among the funny video clips and the updates on crime he posted‚ the man had also shared his thoughts on death‚ which in retrospect raised red flags about his state of mind.
“... Why is it so hard to go to death‚” he wrote on May 28.
Several people replied‚ offering to pray for him‚ reminding him that he had a lot to live for.
“Please don’t do it‚” said one.
Two days before that he had said: "You get some people who try to live and then you get some people who try to die …. It is so difficult to die."
But it was his prayer on May 23 that shared how deserted and alone he had felt.
"Dear Lord our Almighty Father..... I kneel down before you. In my past I took wrong decisions and made mistakes. I also trusted people who left me in the lurch. I don't hold it against them but it’s all led me now to a place where I can no longer continue‚" his prayer read in part.
He prayed for those who had extended a helping hand to him‚ and to his family.
".. I also want to thank those that are willing to help me and support me but they can only do so much‚ they are also weak and fallible people. Lord‚ (the Bible tells us) of the many miracles you have performed and so I ask you today‚ please can you bring me a miracle to change my circumstances? Lord‚ I do not have more words or better ways to plead for this . . . Please can I offer up the lives of myself‚ my family and friends to you please? Thank you Lord. Amen."
On June 3‚ he signalled his downcast state of mind: “People always wish you a safe night‚ what if that safe night is shattered? What if it is you‚ who was always the watchdog‚ who becomes the weakest link?”
In his penultimate post‚ he shared this modified Bible verse: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so‚ I would not have told you that. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
Police said foul play is not suspected. They are investigating three cases of murder and a suicide.
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