A Port Elizabeth man was fatally wounded after a group of suspected gangsters went on a shooting rampage following a drunken altercation at a Parliament Street bar in the early hours of yesterday.
Two people were shot and another pistol-whipped after chaos erupted at about 2am when four men – believed to be linked to northern areas street gang the Kakmakers – went on a shooting spree after the altercation at the Q-Bar.
After the Q-Bar shooting, the gang went to a tavern in Kleinskool in Bethelsdorp, where they were involved in a drive-by shooting.
During the drive-by, the tavern owner returned fire.
One of the alleged gunmen was hit as they were speeding away.
Ghurcjen “Killer” Fortuin, 23 – a member of the Kakmakers – was found dead at 4am lying next to the getaway car, which had been abandoned near the Stanford Road bridge in Bethelsdorp.
Fortuin has since been linked to both of yesterday’s shootings.
By midday, police had arrested a 34-year-old Eritrean national, the owner of the getaway car – a silver VW Polo – who was allegedly linked to both shootings.
It is still unclear whether the motive for the initial shooting was a botched robbery attempt or a drunken argument that spiralled out of control.
It is believed CCTV footage confiscated by police shows that only the gangsters – who were all drinking at the bar prior to the shooting – had guns and fired them.
Two patrons were wounded, one in the foot and the other in the upper body, while a third person was hit over the head with a gun and robbed.
Police have not named the three because they are complainants in cases of attempted murder.
Bar manager Chibueze Okeke, 32, who was involved in the altercation, said they were confused as to what had sparked the shooting but suspected it was linked to an argument about a group of women.
“I saw the group of [four] guys drinking at about midnight,” he said.
“As the night progressed, one of the men went to a group of young women who were sitting at another table.
“The women told him to leave them alone but an argument ensued as he persisted.”
Okeke, together with two friends, was sitting only a table away from where the argument started and confronted the man.
“I told him to just calm down and leave the women alone,” he said.
“He became aggressive and his friends joined in the argument.
“There was no physical fight, it was a verbal argument but it [escalated]. He then told me we could go outside to sort this out if I wanted to.
“I was trying to defuse the situation by telling him to calm down and that we were all here to relax.”
As the argument became heated, Okeke pushed one man to the front door, where they spoke. “The next thing, gunshots went off inside,” he said.
“People were running everywhere. Some ran further back into the club and others ran outside. I also ran away.”
Okeke said on viewing the CCTV footage, patrons could be seen scrambling and diving under tables.
“There were about 50 people inside at the time.
“I think they could have been waiting to rob us, but I don’t know.
“I heard about three or four shots inside and they hit one of my friends on the head with the gun.
“They then robbed him [of] his cellphone and wallet.”
Okeke said a white Polo had been parked about 5m from the bar entrance.
“They walked out the bar and jumped into the car and sped off.
“I went to the hospital with my friend who had been robbed.
“While there, one guy showed up. I ran to call the police who were there but the man just vanished.”
Asked if the four men frequented the bar, Okeke said they had only seen one of them there before.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said shortly after the Q-Bar shooting, the gang had gone to the tavern.
“They fired several shots at the tavern [and] the owner returned fire,” she said.
“We are investigating if this is when the deceased [was] shot.
“The motive for the shooting at the tavern remains unclear.
“Our provincial Gang Intervention Team has taken over the case.” Two other suspects are at large. Mount Road Cluster commander Major-General Funeka Siganga welcomed the swift arrest.
“The team has not rested since 2am [yesterday],” he said.
Anyone with information should contact Colonel Mike Grobler on 082-442-1825.