Police haven’t spoken to me yet - highway shooting witness

2015-04-03 08:05
(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(File, Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Johannesburg - A man who witnessed the shooting of three police officers by a gang of criminals on the N3 highway at the weekend said police have still not taken a statement from him, his wife and daughter.

James Patterson said another police vehicle arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting on Sunday morning.

"I told them what happened and then I left the scene because I was rushing to the airport. No one took a statement from me," Patterson said.

Colonel Noxolo Kweza said she would not comment on the matter as she did not want to jeopardise the police's case.

Police were working on several promising leads, she said.

‘We couldn’t move’

Patterson told News24 that he and his family were driving along the N3 highway when they saw four heavily armed men brazenly spray a police car with bullets.

"We could not move any further," Patterson said, saying he was shocked by what he was seeing.

"We tried to reverse but we couldn't," he said.

"My fear was that they would see us looking at them and turn to shoot at us," Patterson said.

With his car stationary in the middle lane of the highway, he watched for what he claimed was several minutes of ringing shots.

"Those guys were heavily armed. Those guns looked big. Bigger than AK47s and I know what those look like," Patterson said.

After the shooting, the men got back into their vehicles - a silver Honda Ballade and a red car - and drove towards the Modderfontein offramp which leads towards Edenvale, Kempton Park and Tembisa.

 As soon as the cars drove off, Patterson parked his car and ran towards the officers.

"There was glass everywhere," he said.

‘He was already gone’

He looked into the police vehicle where he found one police officer on the back seat.

"I asked him if he could hear me but he was already gone," said Patterson.

Another policeman was lying behind the vehicle.

"[He] said I should him pick him up and take him to hospital but I said that help was coming," Patterson said.

He ran to another young policeman who was lying close to a stormwater drain.

"He was lying on his stomach," Patterson said. The police officer was still alive but bleeding heavily.

Patterson said he asked him for his radio as he wanted to use it to call for help.

He later died.

Suspect ‘full of holes’

One of the attackers was lying close to the police.

During a memorial service held for the two dead police officers on Wednesday, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba said the injured man was shot by the surviving police officer, Colonel Steven Mafanelo.

According to Mothiba, Mafanelo said he had "shot his magazine until it was finished”.

Describing the condition of the man, Patterson said: "[He] was shot to pieces. He was full of holes."

Blood was coming out of his mouth.

The man was in hospital under police guard. Police have established he lived in Ivory Park, Tembisa.

Patterson said the police officers stood no chance against their attackers.

"I don't think they had a chance to defend themselves," he said.

Constable Maisha Mafokoane and Mthokoziseni Myeza will be buried in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal this weekend.

Read more on:    police  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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