Having just arrived at the festival held at Meyers Farm on south of Johannesburg, Ariella Cameron and friend Michael Speight were standing at the bar when, according to a online post written yesterday by Cameron’s father Mark, she felt as though hot coffee had been thrown over her left shoulder.
But as she turned to see the culprit, shouts of, “He has a gun!” rang out through the air.
“She had no idea that she had been shot. She looked in front of her and saw that her friend Michael had blood coming out of his shoulder. She felt her shoulder was sticky and thought that Michael’s blood was on her,” Cameron’s WordPress blog post read.
“Apparently it took her a while to realise she had been shot.”
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An eye-witness to the shooting, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation, said a fight between three men broke out at around 4:30pm on Saturday.
“I don’t know what the fight was about but I saw them screaming and shouting at each other, one guy against two others. There was pushing and shoving, but then the first guy pulled out a gun,” he said.
As the argument escalated, he said the man tapped one of the two other men on the chest with what police later confirmed to be a 9mm pistol.
“Neither of the two backed off, they stood their ground. He pointed the gun at one of them and fired a shot, but I didn’t see the guy he was aiming at go down,” said the witness.
The witness said two more shots rang out and the shooter collapsed with bullet wounds in his lower back – a police reservist attending the festival having shot him from behind. Police confirmed that a reservist shot the assailant.
“That’s when things just went haywire. People starting running and screaming. But it was weird, within two minutes, they had taken the shooter away and cleared up. The whole thing happened so quickly,” the witness said.
Cameron’s father, in his account of events, said however that the shooter had shot one of the other men in the back, and that the shooter himself had been shot three times.
Cameron’s boyfriend had meanwhile bundled her into a car with Speight and his girlfriend – the foursome speeding off to a nearby hospital.
Cameron’s father wrote that the bullet had gone straight through her left shoulder, “somewhat of a consolation” as she was “stitched up” and discharged.
Speight was however not as lucky as the “damage was a lot worse”, but Cameron seemed positive that both would “be okay in time”.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said three cases of attempted murder had been opened against the shooter, who himself was in a serious condition in hospital.
Some members of the public labelled festival organisers as insensitive online for allowing the two-day event to continue yesterday, while others blamed shoddy security measures.
The organisers did not return The Citizen’s calls or text messages for comment.