Centre of a drug turf war

2016-07-19 06:00

Sporadic shootings in Parkwood have residents fearing for their lives and police confirm the flare up in shootings in the area is due to gang violence and drug turfs.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says the station can confirm the sporadic shootings in Parkwood with the most recent reported incident on Sunday 10 July.

“The last incident of reported shootings was in the area known as ‘the scheme’ in Parkwood. Currently there are two rival gangs in the Parkwood area that are responsible for the shootings. The flare up of shootings are partly as a result of gang members that are released out of jail and are back on the streets of Parkwood as well as due to drug turfs,” she says.

She confirms shootings are only reported in the Parkwood area when asked if this is the only area affected by gang violence in the precinct.

Kleinsmith says police are implementing measures to curb crime in the area, including stop and searches, disruptive operations, regular patrols at hotspots and searches at premises where gang leaders or members live.

“Grassy Park police also have dedicated detectives that deal only with serious and violent crimes at the station and oppose bail in these serious cases to ensure that these criminals stay behind bars. But this can only be done with the help, information and statements given by witnesses,” she says.

A number of arrests have been made in the area since the shootings started and the last firearm that was recovered was confiscated two weeks ago from a 17-year-old suspect. He faces charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of ammunition and possession of a prohibited firearm, Kleinsmith says.

“Arrests were also made on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 July, where two prominent members of a rival gang were arrested on charges of attempted murder and discharging of a firearm in a municipal area. Since (the arrests were made) it has been quiet,” Kleinsmith says.

She adds that in most of the “shooting incidents where criminal cases were made, suspects were arrested” .

On Saturday 11 July about 19:45 Grassy police were called out to a shooting in progress in Parkwood Avenue. “The police who were in the area immediately responded and saw three men with hooded tops running away from the scene. Officers pursued the suspects and on searching found one of the suspects in a yard. Officers found two firearms,” she says.

A Taurus firearm with one magazine and live rounds with its serial number filed off was found on one of the suspects. The second firearm was found next to the suspect – a Vector CP1 with serial number, a magazine and live rounds. A 24-year-old suspect was charged with possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of ammunition and possession of a prohibited firearm. 

At about 22:45 the same evening, members of the tactical response team were busy patrolling Parkwood when they noticed a suspicious man who, when seeing the team, started to run, Kleinsmith says.

A chase ensued and when the suspect was caught with his bag, police found a Taurus .38 special with serial number and live rounds. The 17-year-old suspect was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of ammunition.

Kleinsmith says Grassy Park police detective commander Lieutenant-Colonel Etienne van Ede shared his appreciation towards all involved in contributing to the arrest of the suspect for the firearms and the recovery.

“(Van Ede) urges the community to make use of the reward system where money is being awarded for positive information supplied to police about crime which results in the successful arrest and prosecution of criminals,” she says.

Kleinsmith confirms police were informed of heavy calibre firearm or rifle that is being used in the Parkwood area.
“Van Ede says that he will personally put a reward of a substantial amount to the person that gives information on the whereabouts of this firearm as well as other firearms in the Grassy Park precinct.”

Residents are also urged to not withdraw cases made as “this is (allowing) the criminal out there to proceed with their illegal activities and keeping communities hostage in an area where they themselves grew up and where kids are raised”.

Any information on gang activities, firearms and drugs can be conveyed to Constable Adriaan Barron on 082 411 3120.

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