2 July 1998

Along with his stethoscope, thermometer and other medical essentials, Dr Keith Annandale always packs a gun in his bag before leaving home for his practice in Putfontein, Benoni (South Africa). He killed two armed men who attempted to rob him at his surgery room on Tuesday.

He shot the men after they demanded the keys to his car during a shootout in his surgery room. “One just has to carry a gun. This is Putfontein after all,” Annandale said, referring to the area’s reputation for armed robberies. Six doctors have been killed in the area over the last two years.

Annandale (57), a general practitioner, is a former commander of Commando Delta, a military company which trained elite army units in Central Africa.

Receptionist Cecilia Sibande said the would-be robbers arrived on Tuesday and sat among other patients in the waiting room. Sibande became suspicious when one of them gave a false name for his appointment. “One looked a little ill and came to register, but the other looked on edge and kept asking whether the doctor was in. He lit a cigarette and then asked whether he could smoke.”

“He suddenly stood up and closed the door. Then he pointed a gun at an old man sitting nearby and ordered him to stand next to me,” Sibande said. The robbery suspect then pushed his way into the doctor’s consulting room, while the other held Sibande and another patient at gunpoint.

“I was reading a novel and when I looked up there was this man pointing a gun at me. He asked for my car keys, then simultaneously cocked his gun and fired. I quickly rolled to the floor, drew my pistol, and fired four times. I hit him in the forehead and three times in the chest,” said Annandale. After reloading, Annandale said he realized there was another gunman in the waiting room, and Annandale subsequently shot him multiple times (fatally) as this suspect nonchalantly (and foolishly) strolled into the operating room.

He said he had no intention of leaving Putfontein despite the high frequency of attacks in the area.>

No word on the brand of pistol or ammunition, although I know from personal experience that Cor-Bon is very popular (among the competent) in South Africa. When I was there, it’s what I carried.


1. THERE IS NO TIME TO “GET READY.” One must always BE ready. Lethal encounters tend to be “come as you are” affairs! Never deceive yourself into thinking you are too unimportant to become a target.

2. GET OFF THE “LINE OF FORCE.” If the doctor had just stood there and fired, he probably would have been hit, but he wisely side stepped and drew simultaneously. The bad guy’s bullets pierced only the air where the doctor had been standing.

3. DON’T RELAX TOO SOON! The doctor wisely stayed in the fight, firing multiple times, reloading, and immediately preparing for the next contact. He didn’t have long to wait! Had the doctor assumed the fight was over after the first contact and subsequently sat around congratulating himself, he probably would have been killed by the second suspect.

4. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ACCURATE SHOOTING. One can consistently survive lethal encounters using only a handgun, if he hits with surgical precision and does it consistently. Sloppy shooting is for losers!