The current flood of black-on-white murders in South Africa is reaching a crescendo, with a young couple the latest victims in what looks like a racial hate crime. Johanco Fleischman,19, and his girlfriend Jessica Kuhn, 21, were brutally shot to death after their vehicle ran out of fuel near a predominantly black area east of Johannesburg.
Fleischman had phoned his uncle who was on his way to bring him some diesel for his Toyota double-cab bakkie (a pickup truck in South Africa). His call was made at around 11:00 in the morning but the uncle had to look for a spot to turn on the road and could not immediately get there.
Apparently Fleischman was standing outside the vehicle when three black men approached, shouted “mlungu” (an African word for “white bastards”), pulled out guns and shot him a number of times. On the back of the pickup were two black workers employed by Fleischman but the attackers, being of the same race, did not harm them. The workers were so terrified by the sound of bullets that they scrambled off the vehicle and ran away.
At least fourteen shots were fired in total, as that number of spent cartridges were picked up at the murder scene. With Johanco Fleischman bleeding to death on the ground, the three black assailants noticed the white girl in the cabin, walked round and executed her with a single head shot. This was later confirmed by Ross Campbell, a spokesman for ER24 ambulance services.
In order to destroy evidence, the murderers then proceeded to set the vehicle alight. A resident of the nearby Crystel Park noticed the fire just after 12:00 and called the emergency services. She did not want to be identified as she feared for the lives of her family members who were with her when she discovered the gruesome scene.
Johanco Fleischman’s uncle, who had cared for him like an own child, was so traumatised by the discovery of his dead nephew that he was still weeping on Sunday night.
They eyewitnesses from Crystal Park described the horror they encountered. Athough his body was riddled with bullets, Johanco Fleischman was not dead yet but breathing heavily through his mouth while bleeding to death.
“The boy was lying next to the bakkie on his back,” the anonymous female eyewitness said. “He was bleeding badly. I am not sure how many times he was shot, but there was a lot of blood everywhere.
“He was breathing heavily through his mouth. It was not a pleasant sight,” she said.
There were about ten people standing around the murder scene but no-one was calling an ambulance. The woman and her husband then proceeded to phone ER24 and the police.
The bystanders tried to stop other vehicles, asking for fire extinguishers. They also pulled the girl out of the vechicle.
“One of the men on the scene felt the girl’s pulse, but there was nothing,” the eyewitness continued. “He then covered her face while we were waiting for the emergency services.”
The passenger door had a bullet hole, with another hole through the seat. There were further bulletholes in the back doors, and the bullet cases strewn on the ground.
The motive for the killing was clearly not robbery, as the killers had not taken the couple’s jewellery, including gold necklaces and Jessica Kuhn’s ring. However, one of their cellphones was taken, probably to prevent anyone from calling for help.
Photos of their dead bodies covered by the gold-coloured sheets of ER24 soon went viral on social media.
Johanco Fleischman and Jessica Kuhn had only met each other in February this year but were very much in love.
The boy’s grandfather, Willie Fleischman, said that Johanco’s mother was “devastated”. Not only was he her youngest child, but also her only son.
“Johanco was one of the most beautiful sons that anybody could have,” Willie Fleischman said. “He never became angry, never fought with anyone. Jess was also a beautiful human being. Very friendly, never sullen. The two suited each other so well.”