Former tour guide Johan Leibbrandt was shot and killed in Barberton by the police and the circumstances remain a mystery. The shooting occurred on Sunday, and the Lowfelder journalist Stefan de Villiers wrote on July 22 that three different versions are circulating surrounding the circumstances of his death.
Leibbrandt lived with his mother in Pretoria, and after the death of his father about a year ago, looked after her as she suffered from Alzheimer. On the day of the fatal shooting, he went with his mother to visit friends in Barberton. The mother being a sufferer of Alzheimer was unable to tell the police what happened.
According to a police spokesman Brig. Selvy Mohlala three police officers, a woman, and two men, reacted to a complaint received of a break-in. The incident happened at the house of the Leibbrandt friends whom they were visiting. When the police arrived, both Leibbrandt and his mother were spotted next to the road, apparently waiting to report the break-in that has just occurred. The police offered to take them back to the police station, but Leibbrandt became anxious about his mother being placed in the back of a police van. The two police officers climbed into the back of the van and allowed both Leibbrandt and his mother to sit in the front of the vehicle.
According to police officer Mohlala, Leibbrandt assaulted the driver and tried to take away her firearm, and a shot went off, hitting Leibbrandt in the chest, killing him instantly. Mohlala could not explain to the Lowfelder journalist why they had taken both Leibbrandt and his mother in the police van, nor could an explanation be given why the two were standing next to the road.
The second version of the tragic incident comes from a female friend of the family and family members, who are trying to establish what happened and said that before Leibbrandt had died, she received and SMS in Afrikaans from him, stating that the police had kidnapped him. The family reported that the police officers tried to push both Leibbrandt and his mother into the police van and that Leibbrandt sought to resist.
The third version is from the gossipers in town. A well-known resident of Barberton, who wished to remain anonymous said a story was circulating in the town of how Leibbrandt’s mother had run away from the visitors house. Being an Alsheimer suffer, it is something they frequently do in their permanent state of confusion. Leibbrandt went in search of his mother, and when he found her, he tried to take her back to the friends home, and that was when the police saw them in the street. It was also said that when Leibbrandt explained to the police that his mother was lost, they police did not believe his story and tried to arrest him. The gossipers also said that Leibbrandt was aggressive while in the front of the police vehicle, and that is why the police officer shot him.
The police are now investigating the shooting by one of their officers, and the incident is not cited as murder. The police report has no mention of an inquest hearing to determine the unnatural death at the hands of a police officer, in the police report
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