Pieter Van der Westhuizen shot dead two robbers who wanted to rob a church. Pieter is brother of the late rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen, shot dead two robbers on the scene and the other two escaped in a vehicle. The robbers apparently stormed into a church armed, after which Van der Westhuizen took out his pistol and opened fire on them.
According to a tweet by a former colleague, Carien Schultz, Van der Westhuizen was previously a police officer who obtained the Silver Cross for Bravery.
A police spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, confirmed the incident and said that two of the three robbers in the church had been killed.
“The third and fourth suspects fled in a getaway car parked outside the church,” Peters said. “According to information, it appears that the three suspects entered the church during the service and detained members with firearms and robbed them of their personal belongings,” she said.
Police members at the scene found one firearm and only the pastor was injured.
The incident happened in Centurion.
Pastor Kobus Erasmus and other church members were assaulted by a pistol. Some were shoved by the robbers. , Ruan Heyns of Community Emergency Response Team told Netwerk24.
A 15 year old boy was left with a bullet wound but it is not serious.
Robberies in churches have been common in South Africa. Some churches resorted to employing security officers to guard the offerings as some robbers disguised as church members.
Van der Westhuizen’s attorney, Ulrich Roux, told Netwerk24 that his client acted in self defense when he pulled out his pistol and shot the robbers. Joost’s brother is a former police officer. One of them was reportedly holding a pistol to the pastors head.
One of the two robbers that escaped was shot.