Farmer's wife shoots at attackers, 2 dead
Thamsanqa Magubane, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - The wife of a Greytown farmer who was wounded by armed home invaders struck back on Tuesday night, in an incident in which two attackers were killed.
Carla Chaning-Pearce returned fire after one of six men shot her husband, Julian, in his shoulder.
The gang fled from the couple’s house and one of them - who had apparently been wounded - fell into a swimming pool outside.
At this stage, it remains uncertain whether his death was caused by a gunshot or drowning.
A second assailant was cornered on the property by neighbouring farmers who raced to the scene in response to a mayday call on the farm radio network. During an ensuing gun battle, the attacker was shot dead.
The hunt was continuing for the four remaining attackers.
Carla Chaning-Pearce reportedly sustained a superficial gunshot wound to her right leg for which she later received medical treatment. She did not require hospitalisation.
Her husband was admitted to a private hospital in Pietermaritzburg where specialists were assessing whether or not to operate on his shoulder.
When The Witness visited the scene of the attack at CPS Seedlings, family members declined to talk about the incident, which happened at around 20:15.
It was not the first time a member of the Chaning-Pearce family had been attacked. Julian’s older brother, Adrian, was stabbed eight times in his office two years ago.
A member of the local community who did not want to be named told The Witness Julian had just returned home from a meeting to discuss the increase of crime in the area, when he was set upon in the passage.
Carla reacted with lightning speed, grabbing her own firearm and returning fire, causing the intruders to flee.
It was later discovered that the six assailants had breached an electric fence and entered the house through a window.
The couple’s two daughters were reportedly at home but were not threatened.
The Witness was told that up to 30 farmers who were alerted by the mayday call, sprang into action and converged on the property within minutes to help the family.
The injured couple were taken to New Hanover where they were met by ER24 paramedics and taken to hospital by ambulance.
Increase in crime
Greg Hull, president of Umvoti Agricultural Society, said this past month there has been a noticeable increase in crime in the area.
Another farmer who lives close by said he was with Julian just hours before the incident at the meeting about crime.
He said he too was attacked several years ago.
“We have to lock up everything. They [criminals] steal everything... They trespass without fear.”
Rolf Gevers, chairperson of Dingwane Security, said in last two weeks there were at least three armed attacks in the area, including an attempted hijacking.