‘They were going to shoot me so I fought back’

2014-10-18 00:00

A PINETOWN business owner fought off two hijackers who were embroiled in a heated argument over whether or not they should kill him.

Paul Zimmerman stood with his hands raised and faced his attackers yesterday, while they fought over whether he should live or die. When one of the suspected hijackers grabbed the firearm from his cohort and aimed the barrel at Zimmerman’s chest, the quick-thinking businessman lunged at the triggerman.

Slapping the weapon downwards as the trigger was pulled, a single shot which hit Zimmerman in the foot echoed through the Shepstone Road industrial district. While he writhed in pain, another spat over their hijacked prize ensued with the quarrelsome duo choosing to abandon his car despite having robbed him of his keys. Speaking to Weekend Witness from his hospital bed, Zimmerman said he had nothing to lose.

“That guy was out to kill me. I knew they were going to shoot me so I made the choice to fight back. He was aiming for my chest and I know how close to death I came,” he said.

Zimmerman had arrived at his factory just after daybreak, and was trying to open his gate when the two men appeared on either side of him.

“When I pressed the button on my remote the gate opened partially because the heavy rains had washed sand onto the track.

“I was on my hands and knees cleaning the sand away and as I stood up I felt the gun pressed against my neck and there were two guys on my shoulders.

“I lashed out and knocked both of them back. The one was so aggressive while the other was holding the gun inside his jacket not wanting to show it off,” he said. “I thought that if I gave them the keys, they were going to shoot me because they were so wild.

“I thought if I walked away they were going to shoot me in the back so I faced them. [The unarmed man] shouted ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’ and his partner wouldn’t, so he grabbed the gun away and raised the gun to my chest. The moment he lifted it up, I hit it away and the shot went off, shattering the bones in my ankle,” he said.

He said that they then argued about taking his car. “I dropped and they ran to the car and started having an argument about it. It was obviously the wrong car for them and they just left it. They ran right past me, and I thought they were going to take another shot at me and finish the job,” he said.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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