There was mayhem in a divorce court in South Africa Monday when an off-duty policeman opened fire, killing his estranged wife and her brother during a tea break in legal proceedings.
The incident in South Africa’s southeastern port city of Durban occurred on the eighth floor of the regional magistrate court building as the court heard the annulment case between the couple.
“At around 11:00 am… the suspect shot at the wife and her brother and both died at the scene,” police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele told AFP, adding that the hearing was about to resume after a tea break.
The suspect, 32, turned the gun on himself but survived, while the two victims suffered several gunshot wounds, Mbele said.
“He tried to commit suicide and has been taken to hospital where he is in a critical condition,” she said.
Local reporters said that the two victims were in the court’s public gallery when the shooter tried to talk to them before opening fire.
TimesLive online paper said visibly shaken court staff, including clerks and interpreters, were escorted from the building.
Security is usually tight at South African courts where visitors and workers pass through metal detectors and bags are X-rayed.
But police officers are allowed to go in with their firearms if they are on duty.