Fury over shooting of youth in protest

Ronaldo Henke

The police or opportunistic gang members? Who shot Ronaldo Heneke, 18, during the violence that gripped the northern areas yesterday? Heneke, of Ibex Street in Helenvale, was shot in the neck and died shortly after 11am at Livingstone Hospital.

While the teenager’s traumatised family blames the police, accusing them of firing live ammunition during the protests, the police say they only fired rubber bullets and that gangs in the area took advantage of the chaos to shoot at them.

The shooting of Heneke, which has been referred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) for investigation, occurred as at least 12 roads were blocked by burning tyres, rocks and even a mattress, and protesters pelted vehicles with stones.

Stanford Road was blocked all the way from Gail Road down to Third Avenue.

“I am disappointed in the police. They are meant to protect us and not shoot us. Ronaldo was not armed,” Heneke’s sister, Bianca, 33, said.

“He was not into gangs. He was a good person.

“He went with friends to see what was happening.

“He was not involved [in the protests].”

She described Ronaldo as friendly and lovely, saying he had completed Grade 11 at Chapman High School last year but had not been at school this year.

Bianca said her parents, Regina and Jimmy, were not coping and her mother had fainted on hearing about her son’s death.

Neighbour Joseph Oosthuizen, 45, said: “He was not a gangster.

“He wanted to help everyone and always did favours.

“I am disappointed and angry with the police.”

Oosthuizen said he had gone to an area called “Die Gaat” in Helenvale to watch the protest and returned home shortly before Heneke left to go and have a look.

“Around 10am, some guys called me to say Bum [Heneke] had been shot,” he said. “I was shocked and ran down, but he was already gone [to hospital].”

Oosthuizen called a friend to drive him to Livingstone, but Heneke was already dead when they arrived shortly after 11am.

“I burst into tears. His mother arrived and asked me [how he was], but I could not speak.

“She then went in to see her child. When she came out, she was in tears.”

A Helenvale school principal, who asked not to be named, said he had been driving back to the school after taking an ill pupil home, when about 30 people stopped his vehicle.

“They asked me to help take two guys to hospital. They said [they] were shot by the police.”

The principal said he had driven both of them to the hospital.

“When I got to the hospital, the one who had been shot in the hand could walk, but I waited for them to bring a wheelchair for the other guy,” he said.

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