Callers describe hail of bullets fired in Hayfields car chase

2010-01-20 00:00

HAYFIELDS residents have complained about the excessive force they say was used by police in their suburb in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Callers to The Witness yesterday morning alleged that a car at which police were firing had failed to stop at a roadblock near Makro and that the Road Traffic Inspectorate and police had chased the car up Hesketh Drive and around Rushmore, Burns and Collins roads and back into Hesketh Drive.

“Then the RTI opened fire with three shots and all hell broke loose,” said one caller who asked not to be named.

The caller said they heard later that a police junior dog squad member had then opened fire with an R5 automatic weapon. “The men in the car did not shoot back. Why was he firing an R5 in a built up area?”

Another caller said he went to the scene of the shooting straight after it happened. “There were eight to 10 police cars there. The driver of the red Toyota Corolla that was shot at was said to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time and that was why they allegedly did not stop. The two occupants of the car were handcuffed and the car was searched.” The man said the two right wheels of the car were shot and the back window and driver’s window were smashed, apparently by bullets.

“They fired between 40 to 50 shots with 9 mm and R5 weapons. This was excessive use of force in a built-up area. If someone had been standing at a window looking out to see what the commotion was, they may have been hit.”

Speaking to The Witness yesterday on condition his name was withheld as he works with the police on occasion, a man who is considered an authority on firearms described Saturday’s shooting as “reckless”. He said that when an R5 bullet passes through an object like a car, it changes its path of flight, meaning there is no control over where those bullets then land up.

“It worries me … because there are police members out there who are letting rip but who are not competent to fire guns, and that’s the truth of it.”

While it was “stupid” for the driver to have evaded the roadblock, the police should not have reacted the way they did, he said.

The police again failed to verify the incident yesterday when approached by The Witness.

The Witness believes that one of the occupants in the car has obtained legal advice about the shooting, but was unable to contact the driver of the car or the passenger.

The RTI’s Rajen Chinaboo said the incident had not been reported to him.



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