Brave cops nab gunmen

2017-02-20 11:05
Two gunmen killed in gun battle with police.

Two gunmen killed in gun battle with police. (Illustration by Hanlie Malan, Graphics24)

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A dramatic shoot-out between two seasoned K9 policemen and a gang of heavily armed criminals ended in glory for the officers who “miraculously” walked away unscathed.

Two gunmen were killed in the gun battle which erupted along the R103 at Polly Shortts outside Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night.
A third suspect was wounded and was hospitalised.

The suspect was one of two assailants who were arrested at the scene by police, while a fifth man got away.

Pietermaritzburg K9 and CAT members Warrant Officers Reeno Dayaram and Imraan Shaik were back on the prowl hours after evading the hail of bullets directed at them as they chased the armed gang.

The two officers had been conducting a routine patrol of the city on Thursday night when they received information that a silver VW Polo had been hijacked in Bisley. It was reported that the hijackers had been fleeing the scene of an armed robbery in Plessislaer when they hijacked a woman with a child on Thornhurst Drive in Bisley and sped away in the silver Polo.

The police were informed that a second VW Polo with Durban registration plates was travelling in convoy with the hijacked vehicle.

Minutes later the two vehicles drove past Dayaram and Shaik who were stationed in Murray Road at the time.

South Cluster police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the policemen immediately turned their (unmarked) Toyota Fortuner around and started following the two vehicles.

The suspects drove along Gladys Manzi Road in Mkondeni and turned toward the Polly Shortts Centre.

At the centre the white VW Polo pulled off the road and parked, while the officers continued to follow the hijacked silver Polo, said Ngobese.

A high-speed chase started “almost immediately after the white Polo pulled over”.

The back passenger door of the Polo was flung open and the suspects opened fire on Dayaram and Shaik as they drove.

“The white Polo then appeared behind the police officers and the occupants started shooting at them from behind as well.

“These police officers were being shot at from the front and the back and they had to return fire,” Ngobese said.

Shaik drove for more than a kilometre at high speed, weaving along the narrow, winding road to avoid being hit. At the same time he fired shots at the gunmen in front while Dayaram returned fire at the Polo behind them.

The police’s Toyota Fortuner was hit by bullets thought to have been fired from a high-calibre weapon, leaving bullet holes in the SUV’s roof, bumper and rearview mirror.

As bullets continued to fly, the white Polo came to a sudden halt before the vehicle turned and drove back the way it had come. Police are still on the lookout for it.

Meanwhile, the silver Polo pulled over and stopped at the roadside. Five men jumped out and continued shooting at Dayaram and Shaik.

As the gunmen fled into the surrounding bush, Dayaram released his dog Simba and Shaik released his dog Storm. The dogs each apprehended one of the suspects, but both of these men died soon afterwards from gunshot injuries.

The third suspect, identified as a wanted criminal from Umlazi, Durban, was arrested and rushed to hospital for treatment for a bullet wound.

A fourth man, who was not injured, was also arrested but the fifth suspect escaped.

A 9 mm pistol was found near the abandoned silver Polo and used cartridges were recovered inside the car.

Pietermaritzburg South Cluster commander Major-General Phumelele Makoba said this incident should serve as a stern warning to criminals “that there is no place for criminals in Pietermaritzburg”.

She commended the swift reaction and bravery of the police officers involved and said she was happy they had emerged unhurt.

“The police officers were vigilant and aware and reacted fast. This should send a strong message to criminals everywhere that Pietermaritzburg police are around,” she said.

Makoba also urged residents and the community to be alert to their surroundings and report crime immediately to ensure that criminals can be apprehended swiftly.


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