Robbers killed in shootout

2015-06-16 06:00

Four men were arrested following a store robbery and shootout with police in Surrey Estate last week.

Leon Knipe/Son

Four men were arrested following a store robbery and shootout with police in Surrey Estate last week. PHOTO: Leon Knipe/Son

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The case against four men charged with the robbery of a store in Surrey Estate which resulted in a bloody shoot-out with police last week Monday, has been postponed.

The suspects are alleged to have been part of a gang of robbers who held up the Primrose Markette. Three gunmen were killed in a battle with police as they attempted to flee the scene.

The four, aged between 32 and 39, appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. They face charges of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery.

Robbers attempted to escape with R20 000 from the Surrey Estate business when they were met by a police convoy at about 21:00 last Monday night. Officers had been following the vehicle the suspects were travelling in as it was reported stolen.

“A shoot-out straight out of the movies followed,” a witness said. “The robbers fired first, and the police hit back. It was madness.”

Three of the suspects died in the shoot-out, while a policeman and a customer were hit as shots rang out at the corner of Orion and Ruimte roads.

The customer who was waiting in her car when she was caught in the crossfire, is recovering in hospital. The woman was shot twice in the arm and twice in the legs after being accosted by the robbers. She had been waiting in the parked car for her passenger when she was told to get out of the vehicle by a gunman.

A warrant officer hit in the shoot-out is also reportedly recovering in hospital.

Surrey Estate residents said they were rattled that such a violent incident had taken place so close to home.

Residents say they initially thought the shots being fired were coming from gang-ridden Manenberg, situated about one kilometre away.

“We are used to hearing the gunshots, but I told my husband it sounded much too close to be the gangsters wreaking havoc again,” an elderly local said.

“It sounded like Guy Fawkes, or those violent TV games my grandchildren play. All you heard was ‘bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! I was terrified.

“It’s so upsetting to think that I could have popped into the shop when the skollies struck.”

Another resident said that while they are no strangers to property-related crime, “shoot-outs are definitely not the norm here”.

Petrol attendants who work at the fuel station next to the store said they were in constant fear at their workplace, as a number of robberies have taken place at the corner of Ruimte and Orion roads.

Primrose Markette owner Siraj Parker said his wife, who had been at the store at the time of the robbery, was “completely traumatised” by the incident. This is the third time that his store has been hit.

“I am just relieved that my staff and my wife are okay. No amount of money is worth someone’s life,” he said.

Parker opened his store at the corner of Orion and Ruimte Roads 25 years ago and insists he has no intention of moving.

“The sad reality is that you can be hit anywhere. You aren’t even safe in a shopping mall,” he pointed out.

“I am part of this community. My customers are more than just people who buy from me. I will stay here, where I have always been.”

Two firearms – an R5 assault rifle and a 9mm Beretta – were seized on the scene, as well as two hijacked vehicles. The incident is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The case has been postponed to Wednesday 17 June for legal representation. – News24

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