14 dead, 9 injured in South African tavern shooting

·2 min read

Fourteen people were killed and three others are in a critical condition after unknown gunmen opened fire at a tavern in Soweto, South Africa.

Police said they're investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus taxi and started shooting at patrons in the bar late Saturday night.

The South African Police’s Colonel Dimakatso Sello said a group of men armed with rifles and 9 mm pistols entered the tavern and started shooting randomly at the patrons who were sitting inside.

PHOTO: A South African Police Service crime scene investigator talks on his phone at the scene of a mass shooting in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Ihsaan Haffejee/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: A South African Police Service crime scene investigator talks on his phone at the scene of a mass shooting in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Ihsaan Haffejee/AFP via Getty Images)

Sello said 23 people were shot, 12 of whom were declared dead on the scene. Another 11 were rushed to a nearby hospital, where two more were later declared dead, Sello said.

The police opened 14 cases of murder and nine of attempted murder.

The Gauteng Province Provincial Police commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, told the Associated Press that the number of cartridges found on the scene indicated it was a group of people who shot at the patrons.

“The primary investigation suggests that these people were enjoying themselves here, in a licensed tavern operating within the right hours," Mawela told The Associated Press.

PHOTO: People gather at the scene of an overnight bar shooting in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Shiraaz Mohamed/AP Photo)
PHOTO: People gather at the scene of an overnight bar shooting in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Shiraaz Mohamed/AP Photo)

“All of a sudden they heard some gunshots, that is when people tried to run out of the tavern. We don’t have the full details at the moment of what is the motive, and why they were targeting these people," he said.

“You can see that a high calibre firearm was used and it was shooting randomly. You can see that every one of those people were struggling to get out of the tavern,” Mawela told The Associated Press.

PHOTO: A relative of one of the victims of a bar shooting cries as south African Police Service officers refuse to let her cross the police barrier and enter the crime scene in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Ihsaan Haffejee/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: A relative of one of the victims of a bar shooting cries as south African Police Service officers refuse to let her cross the police barrier and enter the crime scene in Soweto, South Africa, on July 10, 2022. (Ihsaan Haffejee/AFP via Getty Images)

Another four people were shot and killed on Saturday night in a separate incident in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, a town outside Durban, on South Africa's eastern coast.

Police said two gunmen entered a tavern there at about 8:30 p.m. and randomly opened fire on the patrons. At least 12 people were shot, police said. Two people died at the scene and another two died at a nearby hospital, police said.

"The team will be working around the clock to track down and bring to book those responsible for this shooting," Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanaz, the provincial commissioner, said in a statement.

The shootings come two weeks after 21 teenagers were found dead in a tavern in the city of East London. The cause of those deaths has not yet been announced by authorities, but the teens were not shot nor crushed in a stampede, according to officials.

14 dead, 9 injured in South African tavern shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com