Cops shoot armed robbers

2010-12-24 00:00

THE shooting of armed robbery suspects in Thornville outside Pietermaritzburg yesterday afternoon left local residents applauding police for an “excellent job”.

As the men, who are 30 and 32 years old, lay injured on the railway line where they fell, excited onlookers commented “this is sharp” when asked how they felt about the incident.

At the scene, people laughed when a police officer said: “we shot both of them twice in the legs and heads.”

However, Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said one man was bitten by a police dog while the other was shot in the leg.

ER24 and provincial paramedics gave the bleeding men first aid at the scene.

Police recovered a .38 special revolver, a hunting knife and cash.

The shooting happened about 30 minutes after the men threatened a cashier at Thornville Supermarket with the knife and the revolver before they took about R2 000 cash and a packet of 20 cigarettes at about 1 pm.

As the men were running on the railway line towards France settlement, heavily armed highway patrol and dog unit officers surrounded them.

Instead of giving in the men allegedly fired several shots.

“Police then retaliated, and both men were shot,” said an officer on the scene, in civilian clothes.

At the shop, employees and customers reacted with excitement when one of the police officers informed them that “the guy who robbed you has died”.

“Thanks for the good job”, said a customer.

Shop manager Mvelo Memela said he found the cashier crying in shock after the robbery, and saw one of the robbers grab the cigarettes before they ran out.

“I immediately called the police from nearby Thornville police station. As they were running into the bush, a guy on a motorcycle chased after them. But the one with a gun turned and chased him away.

“But the cyclist persisted and led the police in the direction of the suspects,” said Memela.

Siphokazi Mofokeng, a customer, said police should shoot and kill criminals. “Killing a criminal is good because they also kill. Police should kill them so that others would be scared of committing crime.”

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the revolver had its serial number filed off. She said the men were placed under police guard in hospital.

The incident came a day after police shot four men who were fleeing after robbing staff at an engineering firm in Greytown.

According to a question submitted to Parliament, there were 367 incidents of fatal shootings by police between April 1 and December 31 last year.

Of those, 359 involved suspects where police officers acted in self-defence, while eight were innocent bystanders, according to the Independent Complaints Directorate statistics provided in the reply.


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