Shots in Shepstone CBD

2011-04-15 00:00

POLICE have confirmed that the actions of Detective Warrant Officer Basil Crouse, who fired six bullets in the Port Shepstone CBD on Wednesday morning after a housebreaking suspect he was transporting escaped from his custody, are being investigated.

Two vehicles were hit by Crouse’s bullets during the shooting.

At around 11.10 am on Wednesday, Crouse was transporting Vuyani Jerome Chiliza from the Port Shepstone police station to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations Unit offices.

When Crouse, who was driving a Ford Focus, stopped at the Oribi Plaza intersection Chiliza managed to get out of the vehicle and began running up Aiken Street in an attempt to escape.

Crouse then got out of his vehicle, drew his firearm and, after firing a warning shot, began shooting at Chiliza.

“One of the bullets hit a parked car and another hit a car that was being driven by a lady,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid of the Port Shepstone SAPF. “Fortunately nobody was injured.”

Wiid confirmed that officers are instructed to exercise extreme caution when firearms their firearms in areas where members of the public are at risk of being in the firing line.

“It can be extremely dangerous,” she said. “We are busy investigating exactly how the escape happened as well as the events that followed.”

Police officers spent over an hour searching for Chiliza, but were unsuccessful in their attempts to locate him.

Mandy Paddey, who works in Aiken Street, about 100 metres from where Chiliza escaped, said that even after she saw that the windscreen had been smashed she didn’t realise that her car had been shot.

“I only noticed when I left work and thought that somebody had broken into my car,” she said. “When I got home I found the bullet on my passenger seat.”

Paddey said that when she first heard the shooting she thought it sounded like a car backfiring.

“It is crazy to think that we have shootings on the main streets of Port Shepstone; it certainly isn’t something that you would expect,” she said.

“I am just thankful that I wasn’t in my car when it happened.”

At the time of going to press yesterday, Chiliza was still on the loose.

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