A 25-year-old prisoner was shot and killed after an attempted escape at the East London Magistrate’s Court, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday, 7 September. The prisoner was allegedly armed with a knife.
Eastern Cape South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Tembinkosi Kinana said the deceased was appearing before the court for another matter where he tried to escape from prison in 2018.
The prisoner was reportedly being cross-examined in court by a state prosecutor, at approximately 10:45, when he allegedly leapt from the witness box and brandished a knife at the prosecutor.
“It is alleged that a firearm shot was heard during the incident,” said the police spokesperson. “It is not clear how the alleged knife found its way into the court.”
The police said the prisoner was declared dead on the scene by paramedics and the circumstances surrounding the incident would form part of the investigation and an inquest docket has been opened – skimming over the details of how the prisoner was shot.
According to an Eastern Cape publication, DispatchLIVE, an eyewitness – who wished to remain anonymous – said a pair of prison warders that accompanied the deceased into court were stationed outside the courtroom when they heard screams and rushed inside.
They reportedly saw the deceased attempting to escape and he allegedly brandished his knife at them when they approached him. The pair of warders allegedly fired two shots at the deceased, which proved to be fatal.