Hammer gang caught

2010-06-01 00:00

BULLETS flew and people dived for cover as police shot at four men they apprehended in Imbali near Pietermaritzburg, after they had brutally attacked an 82-year-old man with a hammer, made off with his vehicle and robbed him of valuables at his Howick home yesterday morning.

Police shot one of the suspects after a car chase that ended at the corner of Moses Mabhida Road and Archie Gumede Drive outside Imbali. Two other suspects surrendered to the police and another was caught by a police dog at about 9.30 am.

The suspects are alleged to have struck Thomas Evans on the head with a hammer and taken his grey Citroën Picasso from his Merrivale home.

They drove down the N3 and through the city centre before they were caught.

Said Warrant officer Joey Jeevan,“It is alleged that all four suspects entered the house and confronted the 82-year-old owner, Thomas Evans. He was severely assaulted with the hammer.”

Jeevan said that after they had entered Evans’s home in Via Roma Road, they forced his domestic worker to hand them a key to the main house. They tied her arms and legs.

After assaulting Evans, they took his television set, jewellery and an undisclosed amount of cash and loaded them into his vehicle.

“A short while later, members of the SAPF highway patrol received information that the suspects were seen driving in the vicinity of [Archie Gumede] and [Moses Mabhida] roads.

“Members then raced to the scene and spotted the vehicle with four occupants inside. A high-speed chase ensued and police succeeded in bringing the vehicle to a halt.”

Jeevan said all the suspects jumped out of the vehicle and tried to run into nearby bush.

“Two of the suspects were immediately arrested, while a third suspect was apprehen­ded by a police dog, and the fourth suspect was fired upon after he ignored all warnings to stop.

“He was … arrested and [had] sustained a gunshot wound to the back of his head.”

Mlandeli Maduna witnessed the shoot-out while he was working on carpentry on the side of Archie Gumede Drive.

“I saw four men jumping out of the grey car then suddenly a white police VW Golf arrived. Two just lifted their hands and gave themselves up to the police. Police fired for about two minutes before they went into the bushes and came back with the two men, one of whom had been shot.

“A man who had been collecting planks ran for cover as the police bullets were flying over his head,” said Maduna.

Jeevan said the suspects were found in possession of Evans’s cash, TV and jewellery.

Attempts to reach Evans were unsuccessful. Jeevan said he is recovering at his home.

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