Guard shot by suspected mugger

2017-02-22 06:00
PHOTO:nokuthula khanyile Sipho Phungula, a security guard at Greater Edendale Mall, is recovering in hospital    following being shot while wrestling with a suspected mugger on Saturday.

PHOTO:nokuthula khanyile Sipho Phungula, a security guard at Greater Edendale Mall, is recovering in hospital following being shot while wrestling with a suspected mugger on Saturday.

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GREATER Edendale Mall (GEM) was in a state if lockdown on Saturday after a security guard was shot following a wrestle with a suspected mugger.

Speaking to the Maritzburg Echo from his bed at Medi-Clinic on Tuesday afternoon, 51-year-old Sipho Phungula, who has been employed at GEM for about three years, said he was lucky to have narrowly escaped the jaws of death.

“It all started when two guys robbed this lady who works at Pick n Pay last week and they stole her bag which had her work uniform inside. They wanted to use that uniform to moonlight and pretend they were working for Pick n Pay so that they could steal from the store.

“On Saturday the lady recognised the guys at the mall and alerted security. We handcuffed the two suspects and took them to the control room where they are usually kept until the police arrive,” said Phungula, who was wounded by a single bullet above his collarbone on the left side of his chest.

“One of the guys who was doing an activation inside the mall that day went to the control room to leave his belongings and came back to alert me that the suspect had managed to release himself from his handcuffs. I went to check up on the suspect but he looked like he was still cuffed.
“As I turned around to leave the control room where he was being kept, he attacked me from behind. I tried to put up a fight but he managed to disarm me and that’s when he fired the single bullet and escaped.”

“I managed to run to the nearest room and told the control room operator that I had just been shot by the suspect. The operator called for backup but the suspect escaped through the City Max clothing shop, taking my work firearm with him.”

Phungula admitted that he was grateful to be alive but remained in a lot of pain and demanded that his assailant be arrested and dealt with severely.

“I think he was aiming for my head but he missed. I am really lucky to be alive. I was bleeding profusely and had blood gushing out of my mouth, my nose and my ears. In that moment I thought I was dying.

“Fortunately the doctors operated on me yesterday [Monday] and managed to take out the bullet which was lodged in my stomach.”

GEM Marketing manager Sonya Caldecott expressed her shock at the incident, saying that the shopping centre went “above and beyond” to ensure the safety of both personnel and patrons at the mall.

She added that criminal charges had already been opened against the suspect and every measure would be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“We are glad our security guard is in a stable condition. Greater Edendale Mall treats the safety of our tenants and patrons with the highest of priority, with this being an isolated incident. We have confidence that the police will arrest the suspect soon.”

Head of security at GEM Gerald Mchunu said they were offering a cash reward to anyone that may assist with information to help recover the stolen firearm.

Plessislaer Police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela confirmed that a case has been opened against the alleged assailant.

“Police are investigating a case of attempted murder and robbery of firearm,” said Ntombela.

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