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South African Hero Killed

May 1, 1999

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A man who stopped a 1988 shooting spree by a white extremist was fatally shot in the capital, authorities said Friday.

Simon Mukondoleli, a private investigator, was attacked late Thursday by two men in downtown Pretoria. He was shot in the chest and died at the scene, said police Capt. George Francis.

Mukondoleli intervened on Nov. 15, 1988, when white extremist Barend Strydom began shooting passers-by in a square in Pretoria. Strydom, a former policeman, laughed as he shot to death six blacks and wounded 16 more. He also killed an Indian man.

Mukondoleli, then a 32-year-old taxi driver, followed the gunman into a shop where he was reloading his weapon at a counter. He tapped Strydom on the shoulder and said: ``Excuse me baas, but that baas is calling you.″

Baas, meaning ``boss″ in Afrikaans, was used by blacks as a submissive way of referring to whites.

When Strydom looked around, Mukondoleli snatched the firearm from the counter. He led Strydom at gunpoint outside, where police arrested him.

Mukondoleli’s killing on Thursday may have been an attempted hijacking or may have been related to his job as a private investigator, his uncle Thineas Ndou said. He said his nephew had often shared information about criminal cases with police.

``A lot of people here are crying because he was a good man who helped a lot of people,″ Ndou said in a telephone interview.

South Africa is beset by a wave of violent crime. The country’s murder rate is the third-highest in the world.

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