Deadly Shots Were Focused, Witness Says

A SECOND witness has told a judge in the Windhoek High Court about the moments when an off-duty police officer killed a young man in a hail of bullets outside a nightclub in Khomasdal two and a half years ago.

Police officer Justin Munsu Simataa was standing right next to the front door on the driver’s side of the car in which the late Firmino Fabrice Mael was sitting at the steering wheel when he fired a succession of shots into the car, prosecution witness Caren Sankandi testified during Simataa’s trial before Judge Nate Ndauendapo on Wednesday and Friday last week.

Mael (25) was killed on the spot, while another occupant of the car, Millikan Likando, was seriously injured, but survived, after being struck by three bullets. Likando was the first witness to testify in Simataa’s trial last week.

“He stood next to the car and shot straight at the driver’s side of the door. That was not a random shooting,” Sankandi told the judge on Friday, in response to a statement by defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji about Simataa’s version of the shooting.

The shots that Simataa fired were focused and aimed at the front door of the car where Mael sat, Sankandi said.

Siyomunji told her that according to Simataa he had fired shots randomly in self-defence, after he had been assaulted by Mael and other people.

According to Sankandi and Likando, though, a fight in which Simataa and Mael had been involved had been broken up and Mael had retreated to his car when Simataa approached the vehicle and fired off the fatal shots.

The incident happened at a nightclub, Club Image, in Khomasdal in Windhoek during the early morning hours of 26 October 2012.

The prosecution is alleging that Simataa (30) fired at least ten shots at Mael and Likando. Mael was struck nine times, while three of the shots hit Likando, it is being alleged in the state’s indictment.

Simataa denied guilt on counts of murder, attempted murder, alternatively negligent discharge or handling of a firearm, malicious damage to property, and discharge of a firearm in a public place or on a public road, on Tuesday last week.

The court has been told that a minor incident inside the nightclub set off the events that ended in the shooting.

Likando testified that Simataa complained about Mael having stepped on his foot in the nightclub. As a sign of apology, Mael then offered Simataa N$10 to buy himself another drink, but Simataa was offended by that offer, Likando said.

According to Sankandi, though, Simataa was offended when Mael offered him N$10 after he did not react to a request from Mael to be given space at a bar counter where Simataa was sitting and Mael was trying to buy a drink.

Both witnesses testified that after the incident in the club, Mael and Simataa were involved in a physical fight outside. Sankandi said Mael was first knocked to the ground during the fight, before Simataa also ended up on the ground and the fight was broken up.

Mael and his companions had got into his car and wanted to drive off when Simataa approached the car and fired the fatal shots at close range, she said.

The trial was postponed on Friday, and is scheduled to continue from 9 to 13 November.

State aocate Constance Moyo is prosecuting. Simataa’s bail has been extended until the trial resumes.

Source : The Namibian