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Killer Lang’ata policeman showed ‘signs of depression’

March 7th, 2023 3 min read

A police officer who shot dead a woman he was living with and a neighbour’s wife before turning the firearm on himself had a few days before threatened to go to his rural home where his wife lived and shoot everybody dead, it has now emerged.

Corporal Mark Mulanda on Sunday night murdered Ms Viola Jepkoech Tirop, 37, and his mistress Ms Rhoda Machuma Chepchumba, 28, inside Mugumoini Chief’s Camp, which is located 750 meters from Lang’ata Police Station in Nairobi County.

Mr Mulanda’s colleagues who spoke to the Nation yesterday, painted the picture of an officer who had shown signs of depression in the recent past, saying his plight was discussed by colleagues and neighbours at the chief’s camp.

“He always appeared disturbed, in the past few months he preferred staying alone and did not talk as much,” said an officer who spoke in confidence as they are not authorised to address the media, adding that his drinking habits had also changed.

Inside the chief’s camp, there are 14 houses which are hidden behind a wooden two rooms building that forms part of the office of the chief. On the furthest end from the gate is a permanent house where the chief operates from.

A neighbour, who heard the commotion but was afraid to go outside until there was silence, said that she heard Mulanda shout before he shot at Jepkoech. He then went to his house and shot his mistress, Chepchumba.

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A detective privy to the ongoing investigations yesterday said that they suspect matters could have turned out worse if the officer had met more people outside because he sprayed bullets indiscriminately.

“Things could have even been worse because he was shooting anyhow and when he saw Ms Jepkoech, who was busy with her house chores, he only shouted before shooting at her,” the detective said.

Yesterday, when reporters arrived at the chief’s camp, non-uniformed police officers attached to the camp were consoling family members of the three.

In a police report about the matter, an officer identified as Inspector Alice Wanjau who was on duty at the Lang’ata Police Station said that she was dispatching officers for night duty when she heard gunshots emanate from the chief’s camp. She went ahead and informed the officer commanding station and they rushed to the scene.

“Initially, the officer in the company of two other officers, had reached a local supermarket where he had been deployed only to excuse himself saying he was rushing to pick something from his house which is 500 metres away,” the report reads in part.

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The report revealed that Jepkoech was shot twice while the officer shot his mistress seven times using an AK47 rifle that had been handed to him that evening.

As the bodies of the three lie in City Mortuary and Chiromo Funeral Home, the families are yet to come to terms with what transpired.

Mr Enock Tirop, a colleague to Mulanda and whose wife was shot first, said he had lost a loving wife and mother to his two daughters.

Jepkoech had just cleared her tertiary studies. She was waiting to be posted by the Teachers’ Service Commission when she was killed.

A close relative to Chepchumba said that the two met while Mulanda was in training.

Concerns have been raised in the past that many police officers in the country are facing mental health issues.

In the most recent survey, the National Police Service Commission said that at least 12,000 police officers are facing mental health challenges due to work-related issues.

Currently, former Chief Justice David Maraga is leading a task force that was formed by President William Ruto and is taking views from stakeholders with the aim of improving the lives of officers.

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