|Related Links:||Articles on crime|
|Letters Menu||Archival Menu|
Residents said the shooting began around 05:35 hrs while a Police vehicle was on a high speed chase along Pineapple Street, East Ruimveldt in an effort to apprehend the men.
Police said no one was reported wounded in the shootout that residents estimated lasted some 20 minutes.
Members of the Police Special Target Squad who were in a white Toyota Land Cruiser, licence plate PFF 2885, came under a hail of gunfire as they followed the gang in the car.
Mini-bus GEE 3928 had its front and rear windscreens shattered by a single bullet which went through the front and exited through the back, while a single bullet also passed through the lower front of mini-bus BDD 2856, damaging stereo equipment that was in the bus.
The motorcar, a dark green Toyota Marino, HA 9972 belonging to Kevin Gibson, had two bullet holes in the area of the trunk.
The Police vehicle which crashed into an electricity power pole on Pineapple Street.
The armed gang escaped after the shootout.
During the chase, the driver of the Police vehicle apparently lost control of it after a bullet reportedly hit a tyre and the Land Cruiser crashed into an electricity power line pole on the street.
The bandits then began to open fire on the patrol.
Members of the squad disembarked the stalled vehicle and took cover behind it and in a nearby trench, a resident said.
She also reported that the Policemen were forced to take cover near a home nearby.
Residents said that at first there was almost one minute of very loud rapid gunfire by the bandits.
That was followed by several short, but rapid bursts of gunshots, they said.
After a pause, there were then several single shots, not sounding as explosive as those from the bandits, they reported.
A resident said he saw a speeding white car drive out from Pineapple Street and stop at the corner of the East Ruimveldt Front Road.
The four men were heavily armed, all wearing black `topes' (caps) and full camouflage military combat gear, including bullet proof vests, and with guns and magazines strapped on them.
The eyewitness, who said he has military training, said he recognised the guns they were carrying as M70 rifles.
He showed this newspaper a spent shell he picked up from the scene of the shooting. He estimated that more than 100 shots were fired by the bandits.
"These men look like professionals...there was...one who went ahead in the direction of the Police vehicle and taunting them saying, `all yuh com leh we kill all yuh s....'", he recounted.
He said that the Policemen were so cornered they could not have returned fire while the bandits were shooting.
He said that after the hail of bullets in the direction of the Policemen, the bandits walked back to their car and drove off in the direction of South Ruimveldt.
A resident of Pineapple Street said he was getting ready to go jogging when he heard a car speeding down the road.
He said he looked out a window and saw the Police vehicle chasing the white car.
Another resident said he and his wife were awakened by the sound of gunfire in front of their house.
He showed a window that was shattered by bullets while Policemen took cover in front of his home to avoid the shots from the bandits.
Police in a press release said the bandits opened fire on a mobile patrol on Pineapple Street, resulting in extensive damage to the Police vehicle.
The release said the Police patrol was proceeding on Mandela Avenue in response to a report when the patrol observed a white motorcar with four suspicious looking men inside and proceeded to follow the car which turned north into Pineapple Street.
The Police patrol was just turning into the same street when the occupants of the car opened fire, the release said.
The Police adopted tactical manoeuvres and returned fire, it said.
Police said the vehicle got stuck in mud at the side of the road.
Seventeen bullet holes are evident on the Police vehicle, the release said.
A number of spent shells of various calibres were found at the scene of the shooting.