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South African homeowner uses handgun to successfully defend himself and his family against five robbers

Originally ran here as:
'Like a Bud Spencer movie'
by Marietie Louw, Staff Writer
December 4, 2001

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa -- "It was like a Bud Spencer movie." That's how Hester Trouw on Tuesday described the wild shoot-out between her husband and five robbers at their house in Bronkhorstspruit, in which the culprits came off second best.

One of the would-be robbers was shot dead and another wounded during a fierce struggle with her husband, Hilgrad. Two accomplices fled in Trouw's bakkie and the other one ran away.

"I was never afraid, just very angry. I could not believe the audacity of these criminals,"Mrs Trouw said. While the police were dusting the house for fingerprints, her husband had "a stiff drink" to settle his nerves.

Inspector Anton Breedt, spokesperson for the Pretoria police, said the five men overpowered Trouw in front of his garage on Tuesday morning as he was about to leave for the Bronkhorstspruit golf course where he works. They pulled him from the bakkie and forced him into the house.

Mrs Trouw said she was in the bedroom when two "youngsters" casually walked into the room.

"They told me to lie down on the floor and sleep."

'In Bronkhorstspruit robbers have no chance'

They then went to get the Trouws' son, Marthinus, from his room. The robbers took them to the lounge, where they were holding up Hilgrad Trouw with firearms.

The robbers asked him where he kept his gun. He replied that the gun was outside in the bakkie. Three of them ran out and an argument broke out shortly after between the other two and Trouw, Breedt said.

While the three were arguing, Hester ran to the bedroom and fetched the family's revolver from the safe.

"One of the robbers tried to grab me, but I told him I wouldn't hesitate to kill him. My husband grabbed the revolver and told Marthinus that it was time. Then it turned into something you'd see at the movies."

Trouw fired several shots and a bullet hit one of the robbers in the chest. He died in the kitchen. Another robber was also shot in the chest and is being treated in a hospital in Pretoria.

For security reasons the hospital does not want to be named. "In Bronkhorstspruit robbers have no chance," was one of the comments made by police after the incident - the second time that robbers have come up short in the area.

In November two felons committed suicide after they were surrounded by police during a wild shoot-out.

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