Cops, alleged gangsters clash
A wanted criminal evaded arrest following a bizarre shootout between police and mourners at a memorial.
A group of suspected gangsters, who shot randomly at police after the criminal was spotted at the memorial doing doughnuts in a car with fake number plates, are expected to be arrested soon.
The shootout took place on Thursday afternoon when the three men were attending a motorcade and memorial for Simpiwe “Bobo” Ndongeni, 33, who was killed last week in a shooting in Ferguson Road, New Brighton.
Police spotted a “well-known and wanted robber” who was speeding up and down Ntshekisa Street, near to the New Brighton Library car park, in a VW Polo fitted with false licence plates.
The memorial was being held in the car park. The Polo was fitted with custom made plates reading “RIP Bobo”.
Within minutes of police spotting the Polo, a car chase and gunfight erupted. Following the gunfight more than 70 spent bullet cartridges were found scattered across the car park.
Bobo – who had been arrested several times for robbery, rape and hijacking – was under investigation by police for a spate of hijackings and robberies across Nelson Mandela Bay.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said: “Police spotted the false registration plates and recognised one of the three men inside the car as being a wanted man.
A car chase ensued when the occupants of the Polo sped off and started shooting randomly at police out of their car window.”
The Polo darted into the car park near to the New Brighton library, where seven taxis and several funeral-goers blocked the entrance.
“The police could not chase after them. During the confrontation both the gunmen in the Polo and some of the bystanders attending the funeral started retaliating and shooting at police.”
“As the chaos erupted, police attempted to catch the men, who were running away from the Polo after they had abandoned it in the car park.”
Beetge said the two Flying Squad police officials at the scene had withdrawn after realising they were outnumbered and out-gunned.
“They retreated while waiting for back-up to arrive. Within minutes several police officials returned with our special tactical response teams, but all the suspects had already fled,” he said.
“We combed the area but nothing was found.” The Polo was seized and sent for forensic testing to assist in identifying the occupants of the vehicle.”
“We are confident that the identities of the shooters will soon be known and arrests made,” he said.
Bobo was one of three people killed in New Brighton last Tuesday – with two of the people killed within a 100m of each other and the other 3km away.
At the time the motive was unknown but detectives now suspect it was part of a clash between rival criminal robbery gangs.
The first man was shot in his abdomen in Aggrey Street – about 500m from the police station.
The second was Bobo, who was killed in Dora Street, less than 600m from the police station and 100m from where the first victim was found.
Bobo’s car veered off the road and hit a house in Ferguson Road. The third shooting happened at 3pm in Tsotsobe Street, about 3km away from the first two.
Yesterday police confirmed that Bobo – who had previous convictions – was under investigation for several crimes.
“I can confirm that he was a person of interest in several serious crimes across Port Elizabeth.”
Bobo had a string of pending and withdrawn cases including rape, illegal possession of firearms, hijackings, robberies and dealing in drugs.