PRETORIA, South Africa — Fourteen people have been killed and three others are in critical condition after unidentified gunmen opened fire on a tavern in Soweto, South Africa.
Police said they were investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus taxi and began shooting at bar patrons late on Saturday night.
Colonel Dimakatso Sello of the South African Police said a group of men armed with rifles and 9mm pistols entered the tavern and began shooting randomly at the customers who were seated inside.
Sello said 23 people were shot, 12 of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. Eleven others were rushed to a nearby hospital, where two more were later pronounced dead, Sello said.
Police opened 14 murder cases and nine attempted murder cases.
Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela told The Associated Press that the number of rounds found at the scene indicated it was a group of people who had fired at the patrons .
“Primary investigation suggests that these people were enjoying themselves here, in a licensed tavern operating at good hours,” Mawela told The Associated Press.
“All of a sudden they heard gunshots, that’s when people tried to run out of the tavern. We don’t have full details at the moment on the motive and why they were targeting these people,” he said.
“You can see that a high caliber gun was used and it was firing randomly. You can see that each of these people was struggling to get out of the tavern,” Mawela told The Associated Press .
The Soweto bar shooting comes two weeks after 21 teenagers were found dead in a tavern in the city of East London. The cause of those deaths has yet to be announced by authorities, but the teens were not shot or run over in a stampede, officials said.