Battle ‘was like a movie’

2014-04-16 00:00

A HIGH drama ‘Hollywood-style’ shoot-out between police and gunmen, in which two alleged robbers were injured, frightened residents in Eastwood yesterday.

The five-minute gun battle was enough to evoke the atmosphere of an action movie for the surprised witnesses who saw it.

“I always see this in the movies but today they made a movie in front of me as there was shooting between the police and suspects,” said a father who blocked a fleeing suspect’s attempts to barge into his home and hide from police.

Residents of Starling and Tarentaal roads were still in disbelief about what they saw.

“I heard a car speeding up the road and I opened the door to see what was happening. As I went outside they were running away from the K9 unit. Their car failed to turn the corner and came to a stop.

“Four men came out of the car and ran towards Tarentaal Road and the police were after them,” said the man who did not want to be named.

“There were dogs chasing them and police were firing at the suspects, as they retaliated. One came into my yard and wanted to get into my house and hide but we pushed him out of the house and closed the door.”

He said the only thing he was thinking about was the safety of his family.

Another neighbour, who thought the sound of the gunshots was crackers, was surprised to see the drama unfold. The mother of three boys said she was concerned about her young boy who was not at school yesterday when this happened.

“I saw three men running and police chasing them. One jumped over the high fence of the corner house. Once inside that yard, he was hiding in the grass firing at the police with his cigarette still in his mouth,” she said. She said she was off sick and was thinking about going to the doctor when the shoot-out occurred.

“Thank God I was not driving at the time. I don’t know what I would have done. We are lucky that no children were playing outside on the streets.”

ER24 paramedics treated the alleged robbers for a gunshot wound each to their legs and took them to hospital. Their conditions were described as not serious.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said police were called to a robbery in Samana Road in Allandale at around 11.45 am. He said three suspects entered the home through the back door and were seen leaving with property from the house.

“The Pietermaritzburg flying squad responded and the suspects were spotted in a green Chrysler Neon … in Birmingham Road. A car chase ensued and the suspects drove in the direction of Eastwood,” said Naicker.

He added that a suspect drew a firearm and pointed it at the police.

“A shoot-out ensued, resulting in two suspects being injured. Two suspects are in hospital under police guard and the third is detained in police cells. All three suspects have already been linked to other cases in the Mountain Rise area and the police are working around the clock to link them to other cases in the greater Pietermaritzburg area.”

Police recovered a firearm, ammunition, a television set, a laptop, jewellery and four cellphones in their car.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

Police inspect a car that was used as a getaway vehicle by armed robbers who fled a robbery in Northdale.

PHOTO: Jonathan Burton

SOME other incidents where the police triumphed over the criminals:

• In October last year police exchanged shots with suspects as they tried to get away with their loot of orange squash. Police arrested two robbers.

• In November last year police were involved in a shoot-out with suspects in Commercial City parking garage in Dr A.B. Xuma Street, Durban, after the five were alleged to have robbed a man of a large amount of money he had withdrawn from a bank. All five were arrested.

• In August three men alleged to be behind a spate of household robberies in Hilton were arrested shortly after an alleged robbery of an elderly Hilton couple, Mike and Sheryl Yellowley. They were spotted along the N3 the day after they committed the crime. Police chased them and they were arrested.

• In January members of the K9 (dog) Unit patrolling the streets of Morningside, got more than they bargained for when a suspicious-looking car they tried to flag down came to a crashing stop … against a minibus taxi. A charge of culpable homicide was added to that of car theft when the injured suspect was released from hospital, after one of the passengers in the taxi died.

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