By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Thirty-six-year-old Jekonia Hamukoto, who is accused of killing three people and seriously wounding three others during a random shooting spree at a shebeen in the Single Quarters last Friday over a “missing” cell phone, made his first appearance in a fully packed Katutura magistrate’s court yesterday. Dressed in a black and white striped t-shirt and khaki pants, Hamukoto, a nurse at the Katutura State Hospital looked calm as he faced charges of three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Appearing before Windhoek magistrate Lea Shaanika, the accused was not asked to plead to the triple charges of murder against him and did not receive bail. He remains in police custody and the case has been postponed to April 27 this year for further investigation. Hamukoto was however advised to bring a formal bail application before court if he wanted to be released on bail. The shooting of six people at Kondjeni Bottle Store, commonly also known as Shiwandu Shebeen in the Katutura Single Quarters, enraged the many people who came to see Hamukoto in court yesterday. “How can you shoot people over something like a cell phone just like that? It’s unbelievable,” said one man as he entered the jam-packed Court A building. Three young men died a violent death over the weekend when Hamukoto allegedly went on a shooting spree, purportedly because he was missing his cell phone. It was only after committing the crime that the supposedly missing Samsung cell phone was found in one of his pockets. Although the value could not be determined, Warrant-Officer James Matengu informed New Era that the accused told him “it was one of those cheap cell phones”. A state of paranoia and panic started when the nurse, who was out drinking with his friends at the shebeen, found that his cell phone was “missing”. After a few minutes, he apparently started searching people for his cell phone and when he could not find it, Hamukoto allegedly drew his 9-mm pistol and shot people at random – instantly killing two young men, Jonas Erastus (22) Festus Aron (25). The third victim, Boni Shuudeni (25) succumbed to his injuries on Sunday morning at the Katutura State Hospital. The shooting also caused serious injuries to the chest, stomach and legs of Joel Hango, Timo Kandjumbwa and Primus Ashipala. They are still receiving treatment at the Katutura State Hospital. Before the start of the brief court appearance, emotions ran high as relatives of the deceased as well as those of Hamukoto were present – all looking grief stricken and sad. People were asked to vacate the courtroom and re-enter again after a full body search by the Namibian police, as court officials suspected someone might have a gun. Sitting in the front row were some nurses from Katutura hospital. “He was not a violent person at all, so we don’t know what made him do such a terrible crime. It’s unbelievable,” said one of the nurses. A nurse who trained for his profession in Cuba for nine years, Hamukoto is a father of four children and originates from the Ohangwena Region in the north. Upon hearing the shocking news, his father and other relatives came all the way from the north to see him in court. “This is a devil thing – that’s not my dad,” said one of his daughters, who was in tears over the fate that now awaits her father. New Era also learnt that Hamukoto’s unemployed girlfriend who was staying with him at the Katutura Nurses Home has to vacate the premises and seek alternative accommodation. According to the police, the 9-mm pistol owned by Hamukoto was initially confiscated by the police some time ago, but later returned to him. It was the very same gun that he used to commit the alleged crime.
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