House robbers shoot guard

2009-05-29 00:00

A SECURITY guard is fighting for his life in hospital after he was shot while trying to stop a housebreaking in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning.

ADT Security guard Panuel Kolali (29) was shot in the head and body by gunmen who tried to break into a house in Pelham.

The police dog unit and airwing section searched the surrounding area for signs of the fleeing suspects yesterday. A police helicopter circled the area and dogs were seen in the vicinity sniffing for the direction of the suspects. However, no arrests had been made by yesterday afternoon.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the shooting happened at 9.30 am. The ADT control room received a signal that an alarm had been activated at 15 French Road. Kolali, who was patrolling in the area, was dispatched to the scene. On arrival at the house, Kolali parked his vehicle at the gate and went into the yard to investigate.

It is believed he was shot when he confronted the suspect or suspects as he inspected the premises. It is not clear how many men were involved. “It is believed that the suspect confronted Kolali and fired at him, seriously wounding him, before fleeing from the scene,” said Budhram.

It is believed that Kolali was half-blinded by the blood pouring from the gunshot wound in his head and was unable to shoot back, and that he fell to the ground near the house.

A source close to the investigation told The Witness that it appears that there was a struggle between the suspect(s) and the guard. “There are marks showing that there was some sort of a fight in the yard near the fence.”

Budhram said Kolali dragged himself back to his vehicle where he collapsed. “A passing motorist saw Kolali bleeding and lying on the side of the road next to the security company vehicle and rushed to his aid.”

The motorist used Kolali’s two-way radio to call for back-up. He also called the police and ambulance.

ER24 spokesman Derick Banks said paramedics found Kolali lying on the driveway in a pool of blood. “At the time he was conscious, but in a critical condition. He had to be intubated by an advanced life-support paramedic and transported through to a nearby hospital in a critical condition to undergo emergency surgery.”

Apparently the house-owner had been away visiting family in Hillcrest when the break-in happened. A friend slept over at the house on Wednesday night. He activated the alarm system and locked the gate when he left the house at 6.50 am yesterday.

Budhram said the burglars entered through a bathroom window at the back of the house. “The burglar guard to the window was bent with an unknown object. He said it was not clear whether anything had been stolen.

Budhram said the search for the suspects continues.

Police have made an urgent appeal to anyone with information about the incident to contact Superintendent Siyabonga Maphumulo of SAPS Alexandra Road at 033 845 7700 or 073 247 8873. Callers wishing to supply information and wanting to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stop on the toll- free number 08600 10111.

Another robbery happened in Campsdrift Park shortly after the nearby housebreaking incident in French Road.

Assah Mbatha (48) was robbed at gunpoint in the parking area in the park. According to Budhram, Mbatha had withdrawn cash from the FNB in Commercial Road and went to a furniture shop.

“It is alleged that as he arrived in the parking area and was busy on his cellphone, a silver Jetta sedan arrived with three occupants inside.

Two men jumped out of the car and approached Mbatha.

One produced a firearm and pointed it at him and ordered him to hand over the money bag.”

He handed over the money bag with an undisclosed amount of cash inside. The suspects fled the scene in the Jetta sedan.

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