Rogue cop who shot 6 before killing himself had a pending murder case
By Missing Voices Team
Benson Imbatu, the rogue cop who went on a killing spree on Tuesday night in Kabete area had another murder case pending before court.
Imbatu shot and killed six people including his wife in Nairobi’s Dagoretti subcounty on at around 1am Tuesday. He injured two others who are receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
In 2018, Imbatu is claimed to have stormed the late Philip Kipkemoi’s house at Wakamau apartments in Kangemi estate Nairobi, and shot him dead after a small squabble.
According to the deceased’s nephew Kennedy Cheboin, Kipkemoi was shot following a dispute with his landlady from whom he was demanding a refund.
“He had paid a one month rent and deposit but decided to move out a week later, when he tried to ask for his money things turned against him,” he said.
Cheboin said initially when his late uncle sought the refund, the landlady had committed to pay him. However, in a strange twist of events, when the landlady entered her house, police officers suddenly stormed the apartment and shot dead Kipkemoi after a short argument.
The case has been in court since until the 1am incident has left residents shocked and prompted protests from members of the public who demanded explanation from the police.
Moses Mwea, 22, who survived the incident but with a gunshot wound on the right hand said they were leaving a funeral together with a friend when they met the cop.
They surrendered but the cop shot his friend on the chest, the bullet that got him through the right hand that he had raised.
“On realizing that the cop was on a killing mission, we took off but the officer shot his friend on the head as I escaped into the buildings by a whisker,” he said.
The officer identified as Benson Imbatu attached to Kabete police station is said to have picked a quarrel with his wife Carol Imbatu at dawn.
According to a police report filed at Kabete police station at 3am vide O.B. No. 3/07/12/2021, the victims include neighbours and bodaboda riders who responded to a loud bang in Imbatu’s house. Smoke was also seen emanating from his rental house at Heights Apartments.
Police report further indicates that Purity Cheruiyot, a neighbour to the slain officer reported the incident.
“Police officers proceeded to the scene where it was found out the said officer had shot dead the said wife on the neck.
The officer while armed with AK 47 Serial no 4915724 went on a shooting spree where he shot and killed five people including two bodaboda riders one who died while undergoing treatment at KNH.” Reads the police report in possession of Missing Voices.
Police confirmed that two other people sustained gunshot injuries and are undergoing treatment at KNH. The officer later committed suicide by shooting himself on the neck.
His firearm was recovered with four rounds of ammunitions and four spent cartridges.
Nairobi police chief Augustine Nthumbi confirmed the case but gave no further details.
Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) launched investigations into the issue in line with Section 25 of IPOA Act, which dictates that deaths and injuries occasioned by actions of the police be investigated by the Authority, regardless of whether the officer involved is dead or alive.
“Upon conclusion of the investigations, the Authority will make appropriate recommendations to relevant institutions,” said IPOA chairperson Anne Makori.
IPOA boss also urged police officers to fully explore mechanisms of addressing issues that affect their work. This includes lodging complaints with IPOA through toll-free number 1559 besides also regularly utilising counselling services provided by the National Police Service Commission,”.
Police chiefs have in the past connected such bizzare incidents to depression occasioned to the nature of police work.
Psychologist point of view
A psychologist and a senior manager survivor services at International Justice Mission-Kenya, Pamela Masakhwi condemned the incident saying it would have been preventable were right measures employed early enough.
She said one cannot do that unless they are under extreme psychological distress. “That is something that should not happen at all in a civilized society.” Masakhwi told Missing Voices.
She said it is helpful to look at what happened before this particular incident happened to be able to determine what mental state the deceased was in. “At the place of work did they see any changes of behaviour,any triggers that led the police officer to be upset to that level?” She said.
Masakhwi said the officer was probably overwhelmed by the situation he was in and was unable to process information leading to irrational actions.
She called on police leadership to consider psychological assessment during recruitment of security agents to determine who is the right person to hold a gun. “This will help determine the right level of resilience to deal with challenges of being a police officer.” Masakhwi told Missing Voices.