Cop probed after shooting colleague he thought was a criminal

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(Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
(Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
  • A sergeant was rushed to hospital on Saturday after he was shot in the face by a police captain in East London.
  • The police captain thought the sergeant had pointed a gun at him after flagging down a car he was driving in.
  • He countered by firing a single shot to the mouth only to discover that the wounded man was trying to show him his police identification.

An East London police officer who shot and wounded a colleague in civilian clothes on the street, thinking he was a criminal, is being investigated for attempted murder.

The sergeant, an investigator at the Organised Crime Unit in King William's Town, was now recovering at home after he was shot in the mouth by the policeman on Saturday.

A case of attempted murder had been opened against the policeman, who had not yet been charged and had not appeared in court.

His official firearm was confiscated, together with its magazine and 14 rounds of ammunition, News24 can reveal.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni confirmed the incident, but declined to divulge details.

"This office confirms the shooting incident which occurred in the area mentioned in your query on the 15/08/2020 at about 00:20 in East London."

"However, due to the ongoing investigation into the circumstances which led to the incident, this office is unfortunately not able to provide any further details. The injured person has been discharged from hospital. No arrest made at this stage."

While police remained tight-lipped about the incident, News24 was in possession of the incident report addressed to Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga.

The report revealed that the shooting took place after the captain and his two constable patrol partners, chased down a Toyota Yaris after it had jumped red traffic lights near the busy Gillwell shopping mall in Buffalo Road.

The report further alleged that: "Once in Oxford Street, Captain switched on the sirens of the patrol vehicle and the vehicle stopped in front of Markhams in Oxford Street. The passenger - an African male jumped out of the vehicle dressed in private clothing and ran towards the passenger side of the police vehicle.

"As he was running, he put his right hand in his pocket and pulled out something from his pocket pointing it whilst running. At that time Capt [attempted murder suspect] thought it was a firearm and fired one round, at the person running, through the closed window of the police vehicle hitting the person once in the face with his official firearm."

"The victim then fell to the ground. Once out of the vehicle the members realised that it was [the sergeant] of Provincial Organised Unit. The member was showing his wallet containing his appointment certificate."

The report further stated that the ambulance was called and the sergeant transported to Frere Hospital where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

A police source, said the sergeant was shot through the mouth with the bullet exiting through the side of the mouth.

He was very lucky. Had it entered somewhere in between the eyes; we would be telling a different story now. He is now in stable condition in hospital and is expected to be discharged soon.

The source said the Organised Crime Unit members worked in civilian clothes so that they could blend in.

"A case of attempted murder is being investigated. It will reveal if there was a reason beyond doubt that made the policeman who pulled the trigger believe his life was in danger."

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