Two held after girl, 15, slain in Hanover Park

Zarrah Jackson, 15, died in hospital after she was hit in the neck by a stray bullet.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Hanover Park girl, say police.

Zarrah Jackson died in hospital after she was hit in the neck by a stray bullet in Rywood Road, Hanover Park, on Friday October 6, at about 8am, said Philippi police spokesman Captain Lance Goliath.

Officers acting on tip-offs from the community arrested two men, both aged 23, at their homes in Hanover Park on Saturday, and they were due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday, said Captain Goliath.

“I can’t say if they are gang members. They have been charged with murder and are being detained. I cannot say where. The community didn’t know that they were being arrested. The suspects are cooperative at the moment.”

Police had increased their visibility in the area and anyone with information about crime was urged to come forward, he said.

“That will help us prevent future similar crimes and bring the perpetrators to book.”

Hanover Park Community Police Forum spokeswoman Kaashiefa Mohammed is also a member of the governing body at Crystal High School, which Zarrah attended. She said the Grade 9 pupil from Surwood Walk had been on her way to the shop when she had been caught up in shooting between gang members.

Ms Mohammed said Zarrah had been quiet and well-behaved. She added that Hanover Park felt like a graveyard with fear-stricken residents held hostage in their homes by sporadic shooting during both day and night.

There was more of a police presence in Hanover Park, but the shootings, which were at their worst during load shedding, happened across a wide area, she said.

Street lights were always faulty so residents stayed indoors after 7pm, and children had been kept indoors during the school holidays by fearful parents, she said.

“The gangsters are keeping us hostage. Children want to play outside in the parks. This is unacceptable. The best solution for Hanover Park is that all structures and leaders need to unite. We need to sit around a table and have a plan on how to combat this crime.

“It will work if our people just take hands and unite and take back their streets. There is so much fear in this community. That is why they are not uniting. The gangs have no respect for women and children. If this community doesn’t stand together and take hands, we will lose more children.”

In a statement on Facebook, Crystal High School said: “We wish to express our sincere condolences to her family, classmates, and friends on her loss. You are in our prayers during this difficult time. We, the staff of Crystal High, are heartbroken by this news.“

Anyone with information can contact investigating officer Detective Sergeant Ayanda Tolbaard at 082 469 6534 or 021 690 1502. Alternatively, report crime to Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or use the MySAPS app.