Gran’s narrow escape

2013-08-09 00:00

A KWAMASHU grandmother, who walked to her kitchen door yesterday morning after hearing a loud crash outside her house, is lucky to be alive after a bullet splintered the glass panel mere centimetres away from her.

This terrifying incident happened during a shoot-out between the police and two men suspected of hijacking a BMW in Peter Road, Springfield Park, yesterday.

The suspected hijackers crashed their car into Patricia Zindela’s neighbour’s boundary wall before exchanging gunfire with police.

The two men were killed in the shoot-out as residents of Sikhindi Road off Queen Nandi Drive hid in their homes.

Zindela yesterday recounted how she was sitting in the lounge feeding her three-year-old grandchild, when she heard gunshots.

“I went to the kitchen door to see what was happening. As I was about to open the glass door, one glass panel shattered and glass splinters fell on me.

“I then heard the sound of the bullet as it hit the steel frame of the burglar gate. I was shocked and thought the ongoing gunfire was right in my yard,” said Zindela.

She said her daughters screamed and instructed her to lie down.

“It was by God’s mercy that the bullet went through the frame of the burglar gate. God spared my life because I don’t know what would have happened had the bullet not ricocheted,” she said.

Zindela’s neighbour Kwanele Nxumalo, who witnessed the shoot-out, said he was in his kitchen when he heard the commotion.

As the BMW turned into Sikhindi Road, it hit a minibus taxi, but continued driving, said Nxumalo.

“When I heard the gunshots, I looked out and saw a few taxis on the road. I saw the BMW hit a fence and there was smoke coming from the car.”

He said the police arrived seconds later and pursued the men who had fled the burning car.

Nxumalo said the two occupants of the car exchanged fire with police.

“After a while I saw one of the men lying not far from the car,” said Nxumalo.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the police were informed about the hijacking at about 6.30 am.

The details were circulated to all police units and two members of the Durban Central K9 Unit spotted the car on Inanda Road.

“When officers attempted to stop the car the suspects opened fire and fled onto Queen Nandi Drive with the K9 Unit members in pursuit,” said Naicker.

He said one suspect was killed after the stolen car crashed into the property wall.

The second suspect fled the scene of the shoot-out, said Naicker, but was spotted by the flying squad on Malandela Drive.

“He opened fire on police and was killed during the exchange.”

Police recovered 9 mm pistols from both suspects.

Naicker said ballistic tests would be carried out on the weapons and once the identities of the dead men was established, police would check if they could be linked to other hijackings in the province.

“We’ve had a number of confrontations like this one with suspected criminals recently. We want to assure the public that the police will not be deterred by them,” he said.

KZN provincial police Commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said as part of the police strategy to deal with hijackings and other robberies, members of the K9 unit and flying squad have been posted strategically on routes used by criminals.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate will also investigate the deaths of the two men because police were involved.

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