HUNDREDS of terrified shoppers ran for their lives after a brazen and deadly gang shooting at a busy Nelson Mandela Bay shopping centre at the weekend.
One man was killed and two others wounded in the assassination-style shooting during peakhour shopping at the Desai Shopping Complex in Gelvandale on Saturday morning.
The shooting is believed to have been a revenge attack for an incident last week in which a 20-year-old gang member was shot in the head while sitting in his car on the corner of Beetlestone Road and Brutus Street in Gelvandale.
Police said three men who were shopping were targeted by a group of gangsters who ran into the mall shortly after it opened.
Captain Johan Rheeder said the wounded were rushed to Livingstone Hospital but a 21-year-old victim who was shot in the stomach died. The other two victims were still in hospital, he said.
Rheeder asked The Herald not to name the victims or the gangs involved because the investigation was at a “sensitive stage”.
Meanwhile, he added, the Northern areas gang task team had arrested five people – aged between 18 and 24 – in connection with the shooting, but more could be involved and police were investigating further.
Two victims were in a cellphone repair shop when two of the shooters stormed in. One was shot in the lower back and the other in the thigh.
Seconds later, more gunshots rang out as a third man, who was standing outside the Gelvandale Pharmacy in the centre, was shot in the stomach.
Emerald Security manager Ganiff Caber Begg, whose company has the contract at the complex, said eight youngsters ran into the mall at about 9.20am.
“Two guys went to a cellphone repair shop where they shot two men, aged 22 and 23. A third man, aged 21, was shot in the stomach at the pharmacy.
“There were quite a number of people in the centre and everyone screamed and ran out when they heard the shots.
“One woman who saw everything had to be rushed to a doctor for trauma because the doctor at the centre closed immediately after the incident,” Begg said.
Cell Repair owner Saed Khan said he had been helping a customer when he heard shots.
“I was confused when I saw people running and heard the shots.
“My customer ran for cover and I immediately lay down.
“I don’t know what happened next. I was so scared,” Khan said.
A businessman who witnessed the incident said the shootings lasted for about two minutes.
“I can’t really say how many shots were fired.
“One guy was shot in the stomach and fell inside the pharmacy. Everyone was shocked.
“All the guys involved in the shooting were young. Some businesses had to close down early because everyone was still in shock,” the businessman said.