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Officer killed at Waterfront

Vanessa Papas 8 August 2003
He was described as an incredible father and husband, a lover of sport, a poet and a wonderful co-worker. Police reservist and security officer, Rudolf Wagener (29) of Malanshof, was shot and killed on Monday morning during an armed robbery at the Pick 'n Pay, Randburg Waterfront.

Wagener worked for a private security company and was performing duties in his private capacity at the store.

It was just before 7am when six men dressed in Pick 'n Pay uniforms entered the store. Three of them ran inside and held up the employees while the other three pushed Wagener to the floor and held him at gunpoint at the main entrance.

According to Waterfront management, it is believed the robbers opened fire when they realised they were unable to gain access to the safe.

Wagener, who had been working at Randburg as a police reservist since 1997, was shot twice - once in the head and once in the back. He died on the scene.

Two other guards were attacked, one was shot in the arm and the other assaulted.

The robbers fled, empty-handed, in a white bakkie.

George Miltiadou, one of Waterfront Pick 'n Pay's owners, said Wagener had been contracted to the store for two years.

"The staff who witnessed the shooting have already been counselled and will receive extra sessions to help them deal with this trauma," he said.

Miltiadou added the shooting was captured on the supermarket's security cameras and the tapes released to the police.

Wagener is survived by his wife of seven years, Zelda (31) and their two children, a son (4) and daughter (18 months). The couple met over 10 years ago while both were at university.

A family friend said Wagener was a wonderful person who loved his children more than anything in the world, wrote the most beautiful poetry and was "mad" about sport.

His business partner and close friend, Rijks van Oosten (29), said he and Wagener had been the best of friends since they were six years old.

"Rudolf was one of the brightest people I have ever met. He was a former Hoerskool Randburg learner who obtained five distinctions in matric before completing a degree in Industrial Psychology at Rau," he said.

"We started a security company six years ago and have, ever since I can remember, been best friends."

Wagener was also the treasurer of the Joburg Defensive Pistol Club.

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Copyright © 2003, Rodney Jones, rtjones@amethyst.co.za, Randburg, South Africa (Last updated on 8 August 2003)