Gunfire like thunder on N2

2014-06-04 00:00

A DRAMATIC car chase preceded a shootout amid busy traffic on the N2 between police and a gang of suspected armed robbers near Umhlanga yesterday.

One of the alleged robbers was killed in the gunfight, two others were seriously injured and a fourth emerged from the fracas unscathed.

It is understood that the gang, in a stolen car, had attempted to rob a house in Verulam.

When their plan unravelled, they were pursued by police and private security officers as they fled in the direction of Durban.

The high-speed chase came to a dramatic end when the gang opened fire on officers who had given chase.

While weaving through traffic and as other motorists took cover, police opened fire on the vehicle.

The peppered wreckage came to a stop at the roadside and heavily armed police swarmed the scene.

One man was killed in the exchange and was declared dead at the scene by paramedics.

Once detained, the injured robbers could be seen handcuffed lying next to their pockmarked car.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said that the car had been hijacked in Umbilo a week ago.

“When it was spotted on the N2 near Gateway, police gave chase and the suspects shot at the officers who retaliated in self-defence, fatally wounding one suspect.

“The others who were injured were taken to hospital under police guard. One 9mm pistol was seized from the vehicle and will be sent for further ballistics testing to ascertain whether or not it has been used in the committal of other crimes,” he said.

Durban resident Steve Bennett, who had been stuck in traffic, told of the dramatic car chase.

“I was stuck in traffic waiting for the light to turn green when all of a sudden I just heard gunfire and lots of it. I saw the polo come screeching around the corner and police and security behind the car shooting at it, there was definitely a hail of bullets,” he said.

“I just ducked in my car, it was the last thing that I expected to see,” he added.

Another eyewitness, who requested anonymity, said that the gang had been trying to flee to KwaMashu.

“It looked like they were trying to get into the township but they were blocked by traffic so they got back on the N2, the gunfire was like thunder so close to us,” he said.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said paramedics had rushed to the scene. “One of the men had sustained critical gunshot wounds and had died prior to our arrival and there was nothing that we could do for him.

“The other two injured guys were treated and stabilised at the scene and then transported by ambulance to the Mahatma Ghandi Memorial Hospital for further urgent care, accompanied by armed police officers,” Botha added.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

0820738565

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