Suspected murder-suicide in Kiambu shines spotlight on gun licences

Jonathan Mukundi Gachunga Philomena Njeri

Jonathan Mukundi Gachunga (right) and his wife Philomena Njeri. They were found dead at their home in Kiambu Town in an apparent murder-suicide. 

Photo credit: Pool

A man and his wife were yesterday evening found lying dead at their house in Kiambu Town, barely two kilometres from the nearest police station.  

The man, Jonathan Mukundi Gachunga, 42, was not picking his calls, something that his friend Robert Charango said was very peculiar. 

After raising alarm at Kiambu police station, he rushed to the house accompanied by officers.

According to a police report on the gruesome findings at the home, they realised something was amiss when they reached the house and discovered the bedroom door was locked from inside.

The door was broken down by police officers who were met with the lifeless bodies of Mr Mukundi and his wife, Philomena Njeri (30).

It was deduced by police that the husband, a licenced firearm holder, likely killed his wife by shooting her in the head. After this, police say, he then died by suicide after turning the gun, a Glock Mini serial number BEZA475, on himself. 

The scene was cordoned off for investigations with the bodies being moved to Kenyatta  University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital mortuary for autopsies. 

Kiambu police boss Badel Mohammed confirmed the deaths, adding that the motive for the suspected murder-suicide is yet to be established. 

Guns in civilian hands

The incident has also raised questions over regulations governing issuance of firearm licences to civilians as cases of shootings rise.

Just last month, a civilian, Dickson Njanja Mararo (25), was suspected of shooting two police officers and a waitress at Quiver Lounge in Nairobi. He went missing after the incident before resurfacing days later at the Directorate of Criminal investigations (DCI) Special Crimes Unit in the company of lawyer Cliff Ombeta.

He is currently on trial where is facing attempted murder charges.

Dickson Njanja Mararo in court on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Detectives said they were investigating the circumstances under which Mr Mararo was licensed to possess a firearm. According to authorities, Mr Mararo was too young to own a gun, even though the legal age of acquiring one is 21, with police saying the need for one “must have been informed by a compelling need”.

According to multiple sources, while many Kenyans apply to own firearms for valid security reasons, most young applicants mishandle them by flashing them out in public to appease women or to cause fear.