Five die in shootout with police

2017-03-30 14:32
Police and forensic investigators at the scene where five suspected robbers were shot and killed in Hilton in the early hours of on Wednesday morning. INSET LEFT:The body of one of the five suspected robbers is removed from the scene of the shootout. INSET RIGHT: Sergeant Jabulani Bushula was shot in the face in Wednesday’s shootout.

Police and forensic investigators at the scene where five suspected robbers were shot and killed in Hilton in the early hours of on Wednesday morning. INSET LEFT:The body of one of the five suspected robbers is removed from the scene of the shootout. INSET RIGHT: Sergeant Jabulani Bushula was shot in the face in Wednesday’s shootout. (Ian Carbutt/Supplied)

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Five suspected armed robbers, who are believed to have been behind a string of armed robberies, were killed in a shootout with police in Hilton yesterday.

One policeman, Sergeant Jabulani Bushula, was shot in the face as he pursued the men and was rushed to hospital where he is in a stable condition.

The gang is alleged to have been linked to the recent spate of break-ins and robberies that have occurred in the area.

A source said some of the gang members have links to the so-called “Williams gang”, who were involved in a shoot­out with police in Pietermaritzburg last year.

Police sources said the suspects had robbed a bottle store in Howick in the early hours of on Wednesday.

They then proceeded to the Hilton area­ where they committed another robbery.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said police had received information that five men in a silver Mercedes-Benz had committed a robbery in the Hilton area.

“The members spotted the said vehicle on Dennis Shepstone Drive and the suspects started to fire shots at the police.

“The members gave chase as the driver turned into Knoll Road in Hilton.”

Zwane said the men fired at police as they tried to escape.

Sources said Sergeant Bushula was among those pursuing the suspected robbers when he was shot in the face.

Zwane said the driver of the Mercedes lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into nearby bush.

Police confronted the men, killing all five of them in the gunfight.

“A total of five unlicensed firearms were found in their possession as well as the house-breaking implements.

“Preliminary investigations at the scene revealed that the vehicle used was hijacked in the Newlands East area in August last year.

“Police vehicles also sustained damage during the shooting. An inquest docket has been opened for investigation at the Hilton SAPS,” said Zwane.

Stolen items including alcohol and cigarettes were found at the scene.

It took police almost 10 hours to remove the bodies of the men.

A storm erupted on social media when news broke that the suspected robbers had been killed.

Some Facebook users commended “brave” police for a “job well done”.

Others claimed that the men were innocent.

Security guards working the area said crime gangs had been targeting residents in Hilton and surrounding areas.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  gang killed

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