Nabbed after hail of bullets

2014-04-08 00:00

A 27-HOUR man hunt following a murder in Tongaat came to an end with the murder suspect being run down on foot after a dramatic car chase through the town’s streets.

Reaction Unit South Africa boss Prem Balram came under fire from a gun-wielding murder suspect after receiving information about the man who reportedly had shot and killed his lover, Gengama Poogavanum (56), in the parking lot of the Victoria Hospital in Tongaat last Thursday afternoon.

After shooting Poogavanum the suspect fled the murder scene driving a white bakkie.

Balram said the suspect allegedly further harassed two family members of the dead woman, threatening to kill them before taking his own life.

“He shot the woman with a 9 mm pistol which is believed to be unlicensed,” he said. “She was taken into Victoria Hospital and was later transferred to Wentworth Hospital. She was kept on life support machines until she died on Sunday morning due to extensive internal injuries to her organs caused by a 9 mm bullet.”

Balram said the man had then allegedly gone to the homes of the woman’s relatives in search of two people.

“Had he managed to make contact with these relatives, it is believed that he would have shot them too.”

The suspect allegedly made several tele­phone threats to the deceased’s family and informed them that he intended to kill others before taking his own life.

Reaction Unit members searched for the suspect for 27 hours before he was spotted in Tongaat on Friday night.

“At about 7.05 pm I spotted the getaway vehicle in Buffelsdale, Tongaat,” said Balram, “and when I approached the vehicle the suspect opened fire on me before driving off.”

Balram said he returned fire, targeting the wheels of the vehicle “but the man just kept on driving”.

“He must have fired about six shots at me and I returned seven shots. I chased him for six kilometres through the Tongaat CBD and then through Brake Village.”

The suspect abandoned his vehicle after the tyres had been shredded near the Brake Village temple and Balram got out of his vehicle and pursued the man on foot.

He caught up with him and after a short struggle managed to bring him to the ground and disarm him.

Balram recovered a 9 mm pistol and several live rounds from the suspect.

In the Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Sunil Ramkaren was charged with murder, attempted murder and the illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. He was released on R2 000 bail.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that the victim, Poogavanum, sustained a gunshot wound to the stomach.

“We can confirm that a case of murder has been opened after a woman was allegedly shot by her boyfriend.” said Zwane. “The 44-year-old suspect is out on R2 000 bail for further investigation.”

Poogavanum’s daughter Samantha said her family is now living in fear because the suspect is out on bail.

She was not prepared to discuss the connection between her mother, her family and the suspect.

“The suspect is not my mother’s boyfriend. That’s all wrong. I can’t talk to you now because we are terrified,” she said before ending the call.

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