Gang victim, 6, fights for her life
Cape Town - Liana van Wyk, 6, was shot in the head after being caught in gang crossfire and is struggling to stay alive in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Liana and her friend Liam Davids, seven, were playing in John Down Walk, Hanover Park, on Saturday when they were shot.
On Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Lauren O’Connor-May said Liana was in ICU following surgery to stop the bleeding. Doctors will only know later this week – once the swelling on her brain subsides – how extensive her injuries are.
On Sunday night, O’Connor-May said Liana’s condition was stable.
A tenuous ceasefire is in effect in the gang-weary community, while a police operation and strategy unfolds.
Police arrested two men shortly after the shooting on Saturday. They are expected to appear in court on Monday on charges of attempted murder.
The shooting was isolated, according to Hanover Park community police forum spokesman Weldon Cameron.
The shooting resulted from a clash between two factions of the Mongrels gang and had been a long time coming, residents said on Sunday.
Hanover Park has been balanced on a knife edge for months, with innocents killed and many injured in rampant gang warfare.
The government refused to send in the army to quell the violence, saying the police were more than capable to deal with the gangs.
In July, the community police forum brokered a peace deal with a number of gangs in the area.
Liana, a Grade 1 pupil at Morgenson, and Liam were playing outside their homes on Saturday afternoon when an argument between gangsters became heated. Shots were fired. One bullet grazed Liam’s skull, another hit Liana in her head. She collapsed.
Her mother, Louise van Wyk, was visiting a friend when she saw a man pointing a gun and heard shots being fired. She ran outside not realising at first that her daughter had been shot.
Van Wyk’s nephew, Valentino Patrick, 24, scooped Liana from the pool of blood.
Patrick raced Liana to the day hospital, where she was immediately transferred to the children’s hospital.
“The doctor has done all he can, he said he had never had to perform such an operation before,” an anguished Van Wyk said.
Liana is Van Wyk’s youngest child.
Remembering the last few minutes before the shooting, a crying Van Wyk said Liana had just come to ask for money for a packet of chips.
The police launched a full-scale operation to search for the suspects. They arrested two men, aged 19 and 34, and confiscated two firearms, a 9mm pistol and a .357 Magnum.
They are expected to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
* A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death during a recent spate of “gang attacks” by groups of youths in Khayelitsha.
Police are investigating reports of the “altercation with other youngsters” after the boys’ body was found in L-Block at about 3am on Sunday.
Police spokesman Andre Traut said police were “immediately deployed to the area”.
“We have reason to believe that the incident can be linked to the recent trend of fights between groups of young children in the area,” he said.
He said it did not take long for police to arrest seven youths in connection with the incident. The teens have since been detained on a charge of murder. They are expected to appear in court once they have been charged.
Meanwhile, Grassy Park police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 41-year-old woman and 27-year-old man who were shot and killed while sitting in front of a house in 7th Avenue.
The shooting happened at about 4.30am on Saturday. Georgina Linderwell and Collin Jacobs were reported to have been sitting in front of their house when the shots were fired. There is no known motive and no arrests have been made. – Additional reporting by Natasha Prince