Monday, January 20, 2003

Ziegfried Ekron

Bloodied man begs for help

CAPE TOWN — A young man, bleeding from a head wound and with tape stuck to his neck, staggered about 200m to a filling station to find help after a brutal attack on a massage parlour in Sea Point on Monday morning.

Eight workers in the gay sex club Sizzlers died after being shot in the head at close range. Some of the victims' throats were also slit.

Eunice Kani, who works at the filling station where the wounded man collapsed, said she initially thought he was drunk.

"He had jeans on, but was barefoot and stumbled around, calling for help.

"I only saw the blood when he came closer.

"It was flowing over his face from a wound in his head and he had tape stuck to his neck. He asked for help and collapsed on the floor of the filling station's shop," Kani said.

She and one of her colleagues stopped a police patrol car and the officers called the paramedics.

Police found five bodies in the front room of the house in Graham Street. All the victims had been tied and then shot. They found a sixth body in an adjacent room.

Three wounded men were crawling on the floor. Two of the wounded died in hospital later.

Killer might have answered phone

Juan Uys, who lives down the street and was friends with Eric Ottgar (47), the owner of the club, said one of the murderers might have answered the phone when he phoned the house in the early hours of Monday morning.

"I phoned at about 03:30. Someone picked up the phone but didn't say anything. I phoned again 20 minutes later and both the numbers were engaged," he said.

Homophobia possible reason for attack

Uys, the chairperson of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, said he believes the attack was motivated by homophobia.

"I recently moved to Cape Town after running a similar establishment in Gauteng. Someone scratched the name of that business, which was closed down, on my car on Sunday night. I also received threatening calls lately," Uys said.

Drug connection

Former employees and clients of Sizzlers said the attack could have been drug-related. One man said he sometimes bought drugs such as cocaine and dagga at the house and used it with the employees.

He said most of the young men working there came from rural areas and couldn't find other jobs in the city.

Four suspects identified

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Etienne Terblanche says the investigation is still in an early stage and they are following up all clues.

He said police are looking for four white males who were driving an old, white 3-series BMW.

Terblanche says one of the suspects had a tattoo of a curled-up snake on his upper left arm, and the words "fast gun" tattooed on his right wrist.

His hair was reddish, probably bleached, and he wore a goatee beard. The second suspect was a thin man with a fair complexion who had a habit of sniffing.

The third suspect was tall and well-built with a shaven head and was possibly a body builder, while the fourth was also described as well-built.

Most of the victims' families from Gauteng

Terblanche said police were still trying to determine the identities of the deceased.

"It is very difficult because they did not all have identity documents with them and also worked under pseudonyms.

Most of their families are from Gauteng and were not aware of their employment," Terblanche said.

Five of the victims have apparently been identified, but the names will only be released later.

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Created: January 24, 2003
Last modified: January 24, 2003
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