Brave reservist shot

2008-01-24 00:00

A young police reservist was fighting for her life late yesterday after being shot during an attempt to stop a man fleeing the scene of an armed robbery near the Durban beachfront.

Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha confirmed late yesterday afternoon that 27-year-old Constable Sindi Nzimande was rushed into theatre on her arrival at St Augustine’s Hospital and was in a critical condition.

The victim of the armed robbery, an unidentified 25-year-old Nigerian man, was barely clinging to life by the time he arrived at the hospital. Botha said he had been placed on a ventilator on the side of the road and was still in an extremely critical, unstable condition when paramedics left him at the hospital.

He had been shot in the chest and the abdomen.

Speaking from the scene of the shooting, Point Police Station communications officer Captain Thembeka Mbele said Nzimande had “grabbed” the fleeing suspect, but was shot in the left upper chest in the process.

According to Superintendent Vincent Mdunge, two “thugs” shot the Nigerian national during a robbery in Pickering Street near The Wheel. He had been walking up Pickering Street listening to music on his headphones when he was attacked and robbed of his cellphone and other personal belongings. During the scuffle that ensued, one of his attackers pulled out a gun and shot him before fleeing on foot.

Mdunge said an eyewitness contacted the police call centre with an extremely accurate description of the suspects. This was relayed by radio to all police in the area.

Mbele said that a police van driving along Gillespie Street picked out two men who matched the description they had just received and gave chase. Mbele, part of the visible policing initiative, Operation Tranquillity, was patrolling on foot and was standing on the corner of Gillespie Street and Boscombe Terrace when she saw colleagues chasing the suspects.

The suspects had split up and were running in opposite directions. When she managed to apprehend the one who was coming towards her, he drew a gun and opened fire, hitting her in the chest. The bullet exited her body through her stomach.

Mdunge confirmed that both the suspects were arrested and will appear in court charged with two counts of armed robbery and attempted murder on Friday.

Mbele said a firearm was also recovered and police will investigate whether this was stolen or unlicensed. Additional charges could be added, she said.

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