Pretoria - A police officer who was part of a dramatic high speed chase and shooting that was caught on camera, said they acted in the interest of the safety of the public.
The officer, who cannot be named, told News24 that the reckless driving of the criminals on Monday, November 30, forced the hand of the officer on the motorcycle to shoot at the car. The incident was captured by a camera mounted on the officer.
In the video, the officer can be seen shooting at the speeding car while the driver swerves across the road. In two instances, the car narrowly missed children, until they lose control in the middle of the road.
Watch the video below:
The chase started when police picked up on a tracker signal from a car that was stolen during a house robbery in Ga-Rankuwa. Officers were driving around Klipgat in Mabopane trying to find the car, but they were not having any luck.
“The tracker officer found the car and drove past the suspects’ hideout. He came to us to discuss how we would approach the situation. He also told us that they were armed and where the house was,” said the officer.
Signs skipped at more than 120km/h
Officers went to the house but the suspects got into their car and fled when they saw police approaching. A high speed chase began with the suspects disregarding the rules of the road and endangering the lives of locals.
“They skipped a stop sign at speeds well over 120km/h. The officer started shooting at the vehicle when he realised they were endangering the lives of others. He never shot at the car when there were members of the public next to them,” said the official.
The chase ended when the driver lost control of the car. At that moment, the officer fired about four shots, hitting the rear tyre in a bid to stop them from driving off. A man in a white T-shit jumped out and ran into nearby houses.
The driver was arrested and more officers arrived at the scene. The suspect was taken back to the hideout and police found the wanted car along with a metro police uniform, multiple stolen cellphones, three stolen ID books, two stolen drivers licences, three stolen car keys and a box containing equipment used to break into cars.
The source said it was unfair to criticise the officer without fully understanding how everything started. He added that the public had concluded and crucified the officer while having seen only half of the video.
The video went viral on social media platforms last week with different viewpoints raised regarding the manner in which the officer handled the situation.
Social media criticism
Amorie Kemp took to Facebook to criticise the officer saying: “Honestly, this "shooter" is reckless.
“And some of the footage look like a xbox or ps game. Why empty his Glock 17 with reckless shooting - at the end "the shooter" self says there were children. Why ask for vehicles if there are vehicles there? Not impressed. Chasing and catching is what the Police should do, but also be responsible during the process [sic].”
Mo Hlatshwayo Bonga Squashjuicy Khumalo also criticised the officer by claiming “the shooter was enjoying to make the movie, if he hit the targets, the car should have stopped around a corner, not corners. He should have shot the tyres to bring it to halt [sic].”
Other users however defended the actions of the officer. Katiso Chauncy Nkoko asked if people had not realised the officer was not shooting when there were people nearby.
“Am I the only one who noticed that the cop didn't shoot at the suspect when there were civilians around? the only time he fired the shots was when there were no civilians on site,...big ups Mr policeman, it must have been hard controlling ur bike and aiming ur gun at the same time, but u did a great job anyway, thanx. [sic]”