Edendale: Police in shoot-out with massacre suspect

2010-11-02 00:00

RESIDENTS ducked for cover as a suspect in the Ntshongweni massacre open fire on police members who — acting on a tip-off — went searching for him in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, yesterday evening.

Police returned fire, but had to take care not to hit innocent bystanders while the suspected killer fired indiscriminately at the police vehicles.

At least one of the resident who fled the shooting at Esigodini Village claimed he heard how a bullet whistled over his head.

This reporter stood well back with other Edendale residents as the shots rang out in the night while the members of the police force yelled directions to each other in an effort to pin the gunman down despite the hail of bullets he fired at them.

The people taking cover with me were shocked to hear that the police had come to hunt down a killer in their area.

Last week, on the grim night of Tuesday October 26, six members of a family were wiped out by a gang of killers at Salem, Ntshongweni.

The victims — including children, a two and eight-year-old — were buried on Sunday. Police commissioner Mamunye Ngobeni promising the mourners that arrests would be made “soon”.

The people sheltering with this reporter were heard asking each other what the brutal killer was doing in their area. The suspect had allegedly taken refuge in his uncle’s house.

Upon hearing that the police had come to fetch the suspect who wanted to give himself up, one resident said it did not appear to him as if the gunman was willing to give up so easily.

“As I ran I saw the gunman that they [the police] are looking for. I think he had two pistols. He was shooting with both hands. He did not look like he wanted to surrender,” said the man who did not want to be named.

Before tackling the suspect, police, who were travelling in four vehicles — two marked and two unmarked — held a long meeting.

After about an hour they put on their bulletproof vests and moved in with their two dogs.

After the shoot-out, the suspect went to ground in one of the many homes surrounding the area.

At the time of going to print, the police were still searching likely hideouts.

“We are closing in on this killer, we want to get him tonight still,” said police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan.

No one was injured or wounded during the shoot-out.

“He started shooting as police were approaching him,” she said.

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