An armed man hiding inside his home in Hazendal in Athlone since Tuesday evening shot himself to prevent police from arresting him. Paramedics confirmed on Wednesday morning that the suspect took his own life, following a more than 14 hour stand-off with police and hostage negotiators. Police spokesperson Capt FC Van Wyk confirmed that the man, identified as Michael Volkwyn, shot himself when police officers forcibly entered his home.
VOC reporters at the scene said there were tense and emotional scenes in Albemarle road after reports that gun shots had been fired. Paramedics were seen leaving the home covered in blood stains. Family members at the crime scene were visibly distraught, blaming police for the drama that unfolded.
The suspect’s sisters, Barbera and Diane Volkwyn, were seen crying on the pavement. They claimed police did not give them the opportunity to say some last words to their brother.
“His one sister just went hysterical. She shouted at the police calling them ‘bastards’ because she thought they [police] had shot him,” said VOC reporter Ra’eesah Isaacs.
Police could not confirm how many shots were fired, saying the matter is being investigated.
Residents said Volkwyn has a long history of mental illness, but police have refused to comment on this. Volkwyn’s brother was apparently flown in from Johannesburg this morning to diffuse the situation.
The drama ensured when SAPS and the city’s law enforcement officers were called to the scene at 6.30pm to remove Volkwyn’s 13 dogs. This followed a complaint by a resident who claimed his dogs had attacked her. She opened a case at the police station and SAPS were ordered to remove the dogs.
“When our members arrived, they verbally asked for permission get onto the premises. When they moved in, the dogs attacked them and shots were fired from the house,” said Van Wyk.
A 27 year old police constable was shot in the face and rushed to hospital. Van Wyk said they then called hostage negotiators to diffuse the situation. VOC