Church robbers shot dead

2010-09-28 00:00

POLICE have appealed to churches to work closely with them to prevent church robberies.

This comes after a gun battle between criminals and police at a ­Pinetown church left two suspects dead immediately after an evening service on Sunday.

Witnesses said parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church’s Immaculate Conception branch in Maurice Nichols Road, who were leaving the church, dived for cover as bullets flew over their heads at about 7 pm.

A witness said, “I saw a man, who was carrying an assault rifle, shouting at a church’s security guard, ‘Why did you close the gate because I told you not to do so!’ This was after I heard several gunshots inside the church premises.”

The attackers were driving a white VW Golf.

Police had responded to a tip-off about a planned robbery at the church. They confronted the criminals while they were busy holding up a priest. It is alleged that the criminals started shooting, and police retaliated. Two suspects were shot dead and one escaped, said an ADT Security official.

The church declined to comment about the incident.

“Our senior priest said the church can deal with what happened without involving the media,” said a woman who answered the phone.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the third suspect was arrested and has been charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances.



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