Man attacks Hospice workers, robs bakkie, shoot 15 times at police

2014-09-05 00:00

THREE Howick Hospice colleagues are still traumatised after surviving a terrifying hijacking ordeal at the hands of an apparently mentally disturbed man.

The trio — Chantal Hawthorn, Sizeni Ngcobo and Trudie Thistle — had gone to visit a cancer patient in the Mpophomeni area. When they got out of the vehicle, a man waved at them and said: “I’m Bongani, I’m coming now”. They believed he would take them into the patient’s house.

Suddenly, the man demanded the vehicle keys, which Thistle held with a finger from her right hand looped through the keyring.

The men grabbed Thistle in a stranglehold against his chest before finally getting the keys and running to their Nissan double-cab bakkie. He raced off and shortly afterwards the vehicle overturned. Thistle and Ngcobo ran to the scene to see if the man was injured. When he managed to get out of the bakkie, he started coming after them again. Thistle said they ran to neighbouring properties.

She said the man tried to kill the police who responded to the incident. “He grabbed a policeman’s gun out of his holster and fired 15 shots, but he missed the officer.”

The hijacker also tried to take the police van, but reinforcements had arrived and the man was arrested, but not before the officers had to fire teargas at him because he kept trying to resist arrest.

Thistle said she and her colleagues are traumatised.

“We have been going for counselling. I have a few scratches from the keys being wrenched out of my hand and a couple of swollen fingers, but nothing is broken.”

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said an investigation is under way.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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