Tactical cops returned fire as bank robber lay in ambush

2015-05-08 10:18
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A MEMBER of the SAPS Tactical Response Team told the court yesterday how he and colleagues tracked down and wounded a suspect in a shootout after the foiled Richmond Capitec bank heist last January.

The incident took place near a quarry situated on the road to Smozomeni township outside Richmond on January 27 last year.

Constable Xolani Eric Ngubo gave evidence before Judge Rishi Seegobin at the trial of Thulani Doncabe (40), of Umlazi Siboniso Mpanza (20) of KwaMashu, and Sandile Shongwe (34) of Umlazi. They face multiple charges arising from an attempted robbery of G4S security guards who transported cash to replenish the ATM at the bank.

The charges include the murder of G4S guard, Sicelo Phungula, Richmond policeman, Sergeant Thamsanqa Zondi, and three members of the robber gang who were shot during gun battles with police.

They are; Andile Hlongwane, Siphithemba Mtshali and Senzo Mtolo.

Ngubo told the court yesterday he is attached to the TRT whose members have special training in dealing with “high risk” crimes.

At about 5 pm he and his colleagues were called to the Richmond area. He was armed with an R5 rifle and a pistol.

“When we arrived the first thing we saw was a person lying down who was shot … It was Sergeant [Thami] Zondi.”

He said other policemen at the scene told them two suspects had entered the bushy area next to the road.

One was said to be wearing a “Barcelona” T-shirt which was red and blue and the other had a striped shirt and red cap.

“We advanced together in a basic line … three metres apart … as we were trained. We advanced downwards and I heard a gunshot go off to my left.

“We took cover and lay down in the grass,” he said.

He said facing the direction where the shot came from, they returned fire. “We fired and the fire was returned … I think about four shots came in our direction.”

After the shooting stopped they got up and advanced again.

They then came across a person in a Barcelona T-shirt lying face up in a small stream of water. “I could see he was injured,” he said.

Ngubo said they had called for an ambulance, but did not go closer to inspect the man.

Ngubo said the TRT members continue to search for the second suspect, but the search was eventually called off.

The case is proceeding

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