South African Man Defeats Burglars With Illegal Gun

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A South African man who lived next door to a shop that was being burglarized intervened with an illegally-owned handgun, shooting two and killing one. He was subsequently placed under arrest for murder, attempted murder, and the unlawful possession of a handgun. iol.co.za reports:

Johannesburg – A man has been arrested for killing an alleged burglar and wounding his accomplice on Thursday in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg, Gauteng police said.

Five men allegedly broke into a spaza shop in the early hours of the morning, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

The shop is in the man’s yard. He heard a noise and decided to investigate.

Upon discovering the group of alleged burglars he shot at them, Makhubela said.

โ€œHe got out (of the house) and shot at them leaving one dead and another injured.โ€

The group of four, including the wounded man, managed to flee the scene.

โ€œAround 8am they were traced and arrested in one of the houses in the area,โ€ Makhubela said.

The man was found in possession of an unlicensed firearm belonging to the Johannesburg metro police department.

He was arrested for alleged murder, attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

All five men would appear in the Germiston Magistrate’s Court soon, Makhubela said.

The group of four faced a business burglary charge.

My initial thought is that it’s not worth intervening to protect someone else’s property, especially if you know doing so will land you in trouble. However, at the same time I am not at all sympathetic to the robbers.

H/T GunWatch



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • DIR911911 .

    should have immediately said he knocked the gun out of one of their hands and started shooting or gotten rid of it and claimed stupidity.

  • Blake

    This is what South African carjacking protection looks like:
    http://mydrive.roadfly.com/photos/pic.php?u=150388FjkwT&i=7608
    According to the article, “South African law permits the use of lethal action when a person’s life or property are threatened”…

  • junyo

    “The man was found in possession of an unlicensed firearm belonging to the Johannesburg metro police department.”

    Good shoot or not, unless this guy is friends with a cop, he’s got some ‘splaining to do. Is SA like some 3rd world countries, where a decent chunk of the weapons purchased by the police ‘fall off the back of a truck’ and wind up with third parties?

    • Tom

      I do not think South Africa is as corrupt as other countries in Africa. On the other hand I have heard a lot of stories from expats that suggest corruption is still very evident.

      • Morgan Collins

        As an expat, I can advise you to simply ignore expats who moan about South Africa. That said, corruption remains a serious stumbling block for society there.

      • toms

        Still? Its getting worse every year. South Africa was once a nice place now its a tribal corrupt dictatorship run by tribal appointments and criminal enterprises. Even the vaunted Mandela stole hundreds of millions of dollars (documented). PC wins again

        • Morgan Collins

          Documented? Documents please then. Otherwise, “hou jou bek”.

      • noguncontrol

        it is not just corruption, the govt itself is doing the land grabbing against farmers, and if the farmers fight back, they get murdered by govt forces and police. and the govt looks away when violent crimes are commited. rape rates against women are very high in South Africa.

        • Morgan Collins

          I’m calling Bullshit right now. There is NO genocide taking place there. And “Govt forces and police” are not attacking them either. IF you cared to look at the statistics, farm murders make up a tiny percentage of total crime numbers in even a small capture group. I don’t feel like debating what amounts to a conspiracy theory originating from white nationalists with a chip on their shoulder. Unless you have special insider knowledge beyond actual police records? No? Didn’t think so.

    • Morgan Collins

      Metro police departments in South Africa are notoriously corrupt. I worked closely with both the national service and a particular city department. This is not to say the national service doesn’t have issues, but the city departments are rife with political appointments, low entrance standards, overly unionised and of course so many hand guns go missing. More so I think than the national department.

    • fishydude

      Corruption and high crime go hand in hand with strict gun control. When only criminals and government have guns, the line between the two disappears.

  • Bal256

    This reminds of something a Supreme Court judge said once. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (appointed by Bill Clinton) visited Egypt after the revolution and told them to NOT model their constitution after the US, and instead look to a more modern and “progressive” country like South Africa. As for myself, I say, thank God for the 2nd Amendment. And as a Texas resident, I say thank God for castle doctrine.

    • sapper911

      This statement should disqualify her from serving anywhere in our government.

      • MANG

        IDGAF what anyone thinks of any elected or appointed officials. Firearms Not Politics.

        • Reader

          +1 Sir.

  • John

    This belongs on “The Truth about Guns”, not on TFB – unless, of course, it’s a guest post by Mr Farago ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Having said that – the guy is going to prison, and he totally should. Even if he was here in the US, and he had legally acquired the gun, and it was HIS OWN shop . . . shooting a thieve? WTH? Where’s the “legitimate defense” there? Please – Oscar Pistorius may have gotten a pass, but if you’re just Bob Somebody, don’t go playing cop . . .

    • Morgan Collins

      Yes, this character will find himself in some trouble. The law is fairly clear on it. To what degree he fully understands the law, I’m uncertain. At the least, he maybe didn’t know that his firearm was police issue. Maybe. Not that ignorance is at all a defence.

    • toms

      Have you tried to get a permit in south Africa recently? What used to be a rather peaceful country with good firearm laws has turned into a tribal nightmare of corruption, kidnapping, targeted rape, and robbery. Unless you are part of the ANC you might as well just give up. All the criminals are heavily armed. I bet anything the owner was denied a carry permit and decided to get a gun on the black market. I don’t blame him at all. S Africa is nothing more than a country run by a despotic tribal moffia now days. Its the wild west over there in many places now. Don’t look at things through an American perspective because most of us cannot comprehend the world outside of the west. The police force is joke there since they ran off all of the competent honest trained police. Sometimes like in Mexico you have to rely on your community and neighbors for protection. calling 911 in many places can just bring the shakedown.

      • Morgan Collins

        Have YOU tried to get a permit in South Africa recently?

        Listen bud, I’m not going to listen to you if you can’t spell Mafia. If you aren’t South African, don’t dare cast aspersions. If you are South African, get off your friggin’ high horse. The permit system has always been broken, but it was easy to issue permits during Apartheid when the government only had to issue to white people. Now, despite the permit systems flaws, you’ll probably only wait about 3 months if everything goes well. And to be clear, South Africa has never been a “peaceful country” and that’s fine. It wasn’t peaceful under the Dutch, it wasn’t peaceful under the Zulus, it wasn’t peaceful under the British, it wasn’t peaceful under the National Party and it’s not peaceful now. What’s your point? I kinda like it that way. In fact, I can’t even do the work I used to do in SA here in the USA because it’s so boring. I do something else now.

        If you haven’t worked with the SAPS, then don’t claim that there aren’t any “competent, honest, trained police” left.

    • In what way do you feel this doesn’t belong on TFB? We’ve covered accidents, news, and self-defense incidents before.

      • Vitsaus

        I think he is implying that this is a “politics” article, which is fine I think. Politics and firearms are inseparable.

        • In what way is this a politics article? It’s an event that happened, nothing political about it.

          • Liv Sining

            There is much more “laws and courts” about it than there is “firearms” about it. It is way closer to “legal” than guns.

          • So what is political about it? Help me understand.

    • RICH….

      I don’t know you’re from John but the America I live in if you confront five individuals committing a burglary (or home invasion) I would be relatively certain that the five would ‘challenge’ you rather than ‘run away’ ! If that’s the case the ‘Castle Doctrine’ would be a completely affirmable defense ! ! If the individual(s) put you in imminent fear of receiving great bodily harm or death….. God bless ya, light ’em up ! ! ! No man is expected to stand still and be battered or killed during the commission of a crime !

      • kyphe

        You assume there is a point at which your responsibility to exercise judgment ends and you can “light em up” this is not true! In the situation you describe, if you fire at any individual who has not threaten you then you are in trouble. if you fire at anyone who is running away you are going to jail for murder.

        • noguncontrol

          that’s what liberals want, goes to show, never allow liberals to make the laws. you end with laws that protect criminals instead of property owners. if they invaded your property then they are threats.

          • kyphe

            Your nation is full of gun crime due to people like you, a person is a threat if they are a threat, not if they are on your property or the street, threat is independent of location. Laws protect people from other people, if you are the one looking to kill then you are the threat. Don’t be surprised when you end up on prison for having an attitude like that.

    • noguncontrol

      he totally should?? says who? no one should have to go to jail for defending life or property, even if it just his neighbors’ . laws should start protecting property owners and stop protecting burglars. stop drinking the liberal kool aid.

      • kyphe

        Theft does not carry a death penalty, killing someone unless they pose a threat to life is murder. what ever you are drinking you need to cut it out.

        • john huscio

          an uninvited “guest” in my house in the middle of the night constitutes a mortal threat to my life and the lives of everyone in the house and i will deal with it with lethal force if necessary

          • kyphe

            Key word there is “IF” for if you use lethal force when it is not necessary, “if” the are un armed and make no aggressive moves “if” they run away at the first sight of you, expect to pay a penalty, “If” you are not prepared to pay it, probably was not worth killing someone.

        • noguncontrol

          no, killing someone who is robbing you is not murder, it is defense of property. so what if theft does not carry the death penalty? in some places in the world it does get you the death penalty, and in many jurisdictions even rape and murder and child molestation does not carry the death penalty, so people shouldn’t be allowed to shoot or stab to defend their life , their wife or their kids then?? there is a big difference between punishing crime and self defense/ preventing crime. shooting someone trying to rob you or kill you is not a punishment for a crime, you are trying to prevent the imminent crime.

          • kyphe

            killing someone who is no threat to your life is murder, comparing theft to rape and child molestation shows how sick in the head you are

  • wetcorps

    My initial thought was “hey, how did I stumble on TTAG?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  • USMC03Vet

    One of the criminals must be connected for such a ridiculously dangerous place to care about criminals being felt with during a crime.

    • Hail Mohammed

      Hardly- that’s why the current situation in South Africa and the US is best described as anarcho-tyranny. The criminals are free to do what they want, while decent citizens are prosecuted for doing things that should be neutrally legal if not actually encouraged by law.

      The criminals who attacked Bernie Goetz and George Zimmerman were not ‘connected’ as such except in a very broad sense, but the victims were charged in those cases too.

      • Morgan Collins

        I think we can all agree that the Bernie Goetz’ case was NOT a text book example of legal self defence. I reserve comment on Georger Zimmerman (too soon?). As for this South African fellow? He broke the law. He had little obligation and no legal justification to involve himself in this robbery. Oh yeah, he was carrying an illegally purchased police issue firearm. He is rightfully in trouble for a series of events that he started looong before the robbery took place.

  • noguncontrol

    yep, that liberals and liberal made laws for you.

  • kyphe

    Ah so next time my neighbors wife violates his freedom of speech I should just shoot her dead. nice to know. Oh I forgot, there is the right to life, and guess what, it overrides pretty much every other right. that’s why murderers get more time in jail than thieves and wives don’t go to jail for saying shut up.

    • Curmudgeon

      Excuse me? Is your neighbors wife violently and forcefully violating his freedom of speech?

      Piss on a thief. Good ridance. You have a right to protect your property against thugs, and so far as I’m concerned this guy did his neighbor and himself a big favor by killing this scum. I’m not even one to condone violence, but given the choice between calling the cops impotently and putting a theif in the ground, the choice is clear. South Africa is one of the worst countries on the planet for gun violence, and these cops are prosecuting someone who protected their neighbors property rather than some gangland rapist? Get outta here.

      Guy did the right thing, and is being punished for it. If you were on the jury and convicted him of a “crime”, you are the criminal.

      • kyphe

        killing is a greater crime than theft, learn some basic morals

        • noguncontrol

          killing is not a crime, murder is. killing to defend life, body or property is morally ok. learn some basic morals.

          • kyphe

            WRONG! using potentially lethal force to defend life is the only time killing is not murder, consider yourself educated!

  • Ask the dead guy

    Hey, I’ve got a CZ82! If that’s what he used, then so much for the 9mm Makarov round not having enough stopping power. Of course, it could be a CZ83 in .380. Ditto.

    • Morgan Collins

      If it is police issue, it is 9mm.

  • Anon. E Maus

    Yeah, shame on him for showing solidarity and protecting the property and livelihood of his fellow man, his neighbor, his friend, he must be punished!