Joburg pupils safe after shoot-out

2012-01-24 20:31
Johannesburg - Bryanston primary and pre-primary schoolchildren were traumatised, but unhurt, after a shooting at their school in Johannesburg on Tuesday, police said.

The shoot-out between police and a suspected thief happened in the Bryanston Parallel Medium School's parking lot at about 07:20.

This was usually the time parents dropped their children off, said Captain Kym Cloete.

"Apparently there were a few children and parents around, but it wasn't peak [drop off] period. The school is supplying trauma counselling to the children," she said.

Police were called to the school after an alert was received about a suspicious-looking person in a black Subaru in the parking lot.

A similar vehicle had been used at the scene of a car burglary.

"On approaching the vehicle, the male occupant pulled out a firearm and fired. Police tried to block his vehicle with their car, but he was able to evade it," said Cloete.

An exchange of gunfire ensued. It was not known whether the man was wounded in the shoot-out. While making his getaway in the Subaru, he hit another car.

Police suspected the man may be linked to a jamming device syndicate. It jams car alarm systems when vehicles are locked, allowing criminals to break into the car.

Cloete said the gang had targeted primary schools in Sandton.

According to The Star newspaper, parents rushed to the school on hearing the news to find shattered glass, a spent cartridge and a teacher's damaged car.

Cloete said Sandton police were aware of car robberies at schools in the area and had printed leaflets to hand to parents. A security guard told the newspaper he had been giving out the leaflets when the shooting started.

"I just pressed the panic button that sends a message to the control room," he said.

The school was not immediately available for comment.
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