A Fish Hoek couple have been left shaken after finding a bullet lodged in the ceiling of their children’s playroom.
Jenna Harwood told the Echo she had returned to her Shetland Drive home in Capri Village, on Thursday evening August 24, to find pieces of ceiling scattered on the floor of the playroom.
When she and her husband, Johan, inspected the damage, they found roof insulation protruding through a hole in the ceiling.
“My husband and I were like, what could have done that?” said Ms Harwood.
When Mr Harwood and the couple’s gardener inspected the roof on Saturday August 26, they made a disturbing discovery: there was a bullet hole in the roof and a bullet had lodged in the playroom’s ceiling insulation.
“I was completely stunned. When my husband told me, I thought maybe he was joking,” Ms Harwood said.
“Never in a million years did I ever think that there would be a bullet coming through the roof of my house, let alone the playroom where my 5- and 11-year-old boys often play.“
The discovery followed widespread reports on social media on Thursday August 24 about gunshots in Masiphumelele. The reports included a video, seen by the Echo, in which a man is seen firing shots into the air.
Ocean View Community Police Forum vice president Terence Daniels said shots had been fired to salute a dead taxi driver.
Masiphumelele Taxi Association vice chairman Mandulo Melikhaya said he had just returned from the Eastern Cape and wasn’t aware of the incident and could not comment further.
According to one WhatsApp group, Faerie Knowe and Milkwood Park residents also found bullets in their gardens and on the roads.
Mr Harwood has reported the incident to the Fish Hoek police.
Fish Hoek police spokesman Warrant Officer Peter Middleton confirmed they were investigating.
“It’s against the law to discharge even your pellet gun in your residential area,” he said.
Martin Hood, an attorney from a firm that deals with gun-related matters, said that according to the Firearms Control Act, it is an offence, punishable by a jail term of up to five years, to discharge or otherwise handle a firearm – including airguns and antique guns – in a way that is likely to “injure or endanger the safety or property of any person or with reckless disregard for the safety or property of any person”.
The same penalty also applies for anyone found guilty of discharging a firearm in a built-up area or public space without a valid reason.
“This implies that conducting a ‘gun salute’ within a populated region or discharging firearms in a way that jeopardises public safety, regardless of location, is strictly prohibited,” said Mr Hood.
Responsible practice dictated avoiding discharging firearms outside of designated shooting ranges and refraining from firing into the air when the destination of projectiles was uncertain, he said.
“The Firearms Control Act makes it an offence to discharge a firearm in the circumstances detailed above. If someone is injured or killed, this will result in a charge of attempted murder or murder.”
The incident has left a lasting impact on the Harwoods’ sense of security.
“Where is there a safe place in my house? And the answer is nowhere,” Ms Harwood said.
“That bullet could come through anywhere. Now my immediate reaction is if I hear a gunshot, I’m going to be running inside with my children and my animals and my husband and locking the doors and praying another bullet doesn’t come through my ceiling.“