A shop employee was killed in an apparent act of gender-based violence, according to police.
Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais
- A Checkers employee died after she was stabbed multiple times by a man who entered the store on Sunday morning.
- The suspect suffered injuries during a clash with mall security and is under police guard in hospital.
- The Shoprite Group said it was arranging trauma counselling for her family, as well as staff and customers who were in the store at the time.
Trauma counselling is being arranged for employees and customers who witnessed an employee being stabbed to death inside Checkers at Balfour Park Mall in East London on Sunday morning.
A man entered the store as if he was a customer before screams were heard coming from an aisle, Eastern Cape police said.
Guards and colleagues of the 36-year-old woman saw her running from the aisle and heading towards the tills, chased by the suspect who allegedly continued stabbing her.
“It is alleged that approximately 08:30, police attended to a complaint of a stabbing and on arrival, they found a 36-year-old female lying on her back in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds on her upper body,” said police spokesperson Captain Hazel Mqala.
Mqala added security guards tried to intervene, however, the suspect ran out of the shop with knife in his hand.
“They apprehended him and handed him over to police. The murder weapon was also recovered.”
She said during the fracas, the suspect was assaulted, and a security officer also sustained a stab wound.
The Shoprite Group, which owns Checkers, described the incident as gender-based violence.
In a short response to News24 questions on Monday, the supermarket group said: “Trauma counselling has been arranged for the family, all store employees and customers who were in the store at the time of the incident.”
It added it was assisting the police with all available information.
The group did not answer detailed questions around the security at the store, among others.
While it referred further questions surrounding the circumstances of the attack to the police, the group described the attack as an act of gender-based violence.
“Gender-based violence and femicide tears our society apart and destroys the lives of too many women and children unnecessarily.”
The alleged knifeman, who could be seen in a video with the blood-stained knife and clothes, is under police guard in hospital.
The 31-year-old man sustained injuries when he clashed with mall security guards trying to stop him from fleeing the shopping centre on foot.
The guards disarmed and apprehended the suspect in the mall’s parking lot before handing him over to the police.
Mqala said: “Security guards acted in self-defence, and he sustained injuries. He is currently in hospital under police guard.”
The man was still in hospital as of Monday afternoon.